The pastor of a church operating west of Edmonton was charged this week for hosting sermons in contravention of current public health restrictions.
James Coates of Grace of Life Church held services that were allegedly overcapacity and failed to follow physical distancing rules, Alberta RCMP said in a news release.
When officers visited the church on February 7, it was at more than double its allowed capacity. Officers let the service continue out of respect for the church and arrested Coates after it was finished.
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“There are many different discussions and considerations at play in relation to the Grace Life Church and their non-compliance,” Inspector Mike Lokken said. “We have ensured that the church is well aware of the conditions that they need to follow, and they have been afforded repeated opportunities to comply.”
Police worked with Alberta Health Services to investigate the church, and officers had already given Coates a violation ticket for the same issue back in December.