Canadian Church Shut Down, Fenced Off For Not Following Coronavirus Rules


A church in Alberta, Canada, has been shut down and fenced off by the Alberta government for running afoul of coronavirus rules.

Alberta Health Services announced in a statement that GraceLife Church would stay closed until it can provide proof that it will comply with health restrictions, the Canadian Press reported.

CTV News reported that the police and security staff were around as chain-link metal fencing was installed around the church building and its parking lot Wednesday.

The church, located west of Edmonton, dismissed public health warnings for months, and its pastor, James Coates, spent a month behind bars.

Coates was charged in February for violating coronavirus public health orders. He was then jailed for refusing to comply with a bail order that stated he could only hold services that followed public health orders.

In early March, Coates’s attorneys argued that it would go against Coates’s religious conscience not to lead worshippers. He returned to preaching on March 28 after paying a $1,500 fine and pleading guilty to a count of breaching bail.

Churches in the region are allowed to open at 15 percent capacity with social distancing and masks, but officials say GraceLife has had hundreds of congregants attend its church services.

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