Alberta church charged under Public Health Act for services exceeding capacity

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EDMONTON — An Edmonton-area church has been charged for holding services police say defied Alberta public health orders meant to contain the spread of the virus that causes COVID-19.

The measures restrict in-person attendance at churches to 15 per cent capacity, and call for congregants to physically distance and wear masks.

RCMP say officers, along with Alberta Health Services, monitored two services in February at GraceLife Church and observed there were more people than allowed.

The Mounties say in a news release that they charged the church last week.

Church pastor James Coates was charged last month for allegedly ignoring COVID-19 rules.

A judge decided on Friday that Coates must remain in jail until his trial in May, because he said his religious convictions mean he cannot abide by a bail condition that he not lead services.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published March 10, 2021.

The Canadian Press