Police, security and fencing are on site at GraceLife Church (GLC) in Parkland County, as Alberta Health Services (AHS) reports it has physically closed the building effective Wednesday, April 7. The move comes after months of non-compliance with COVID-19 health orders.
In a statement, AHS said the closure prevents GLC access to the building until it can demonstrate the ability to comply with Alberta's Chief Medical Officer of Health's (CMOH) restrictions.
AHS said that for several months, it has attempted to work collaboratively with GLC to address the ongoing public health concerns at the site. Steps taken prior to physically closing the site include compliance orders in December 2020 and January 2021.
Even as the church's Pastor James Coates was jailed for non-compliance with the orders earlier this year, the church continued to hold Sunday services. Attendees there were also observed to be in violation of masking and 15 per cent capacity orders.
In its statement, AHS said GLC has decided not to follow these mandatory restrictions, nor have they attempted to work with AHS to reduce the risk of COVID-19 transmission.
From July 10, 2020 to April 6, 2021, AHS has received 105 complaints from the public about GLC. AHS inspectors have conducted 18 inspections at the site since July 10, 2020 and violations were observed at each visit.
GLC has not yet responded to the closure.