Supporters pray outside as Pastor James Coates of GraceLife Church is in court in Stony Plain, Alta., on Wednesday Feb. 24, 2021, after being charged with holding Sunday services in violation of COVID-19 rules. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jason Franson

Supporters pray outside as Pastor James Coates of GraceLife Church is in court in Stony Plain, Alta., on Wednesday Feb. 24, 2021, after being charged with holding Sunday services in violation of COVID-19 rules. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jason Franson

Alberta church shut down, fenced off for ignoring COVID-19 health restrictions

Police and security staff were on hand as metal fencing was erected around the church building earlier today

The Alberta government has closed down and fenced off a church that has been charged with refusing to follow COVID-19 health rules.

Alberta Health Services, in a statement, says GraceLife church will remain closed until it shows it will comply with health restrictions.

Police and security staff were on hand as metal fencing was erected around the church building earlier today.

The church, located just west of Edmonton, had ignored public-health warnings for months, and its pastor spent a month in jail.

GraceLife became a focus of criticism against Premier Jason Kenney’s government as the church stayed open, despite Kenney’s warning of consequences for violators.

Churches are allowed to be open at 15 per cent capacity, but officials say GraceLife has welcomed hundreds of congregants at its services.

The Canadian Press

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