Police and government health officials in Spruce Grove, Canada shut down GraceLife Church Wednesday morning after they allegedly failed to follow coronavirus regulations.
The Royal Canadian Mounted Police Department (RCMP), the federal police in Spruce Grove, confirmed to the Daily Caller that the church was forced to shut down because they were not following the Alberta Public Health Act. The news that the church had been shut down was first reported by Rebel News.
A video posted by Rebel News reporter Sheila Gunn Reid showed officers standing outside the entrance to the church parking lot, which appeared to be blocked by several vehicles. A fence around the church is visible in the background.
GraceLife is being walled off by two layers of security fencing and a black tarp to obscure the entrance to the church.
RCMP and private Paladin security are here.
RCMP have no documentation to present to the church re:closure, but are keeping members off the property. pic.twitter.com/68E7ntCHVp
— Sheila Gunn Reid (@SheilaGunnReid) April 7, 2021
RCMP denied reports that officials were “raiding” GraceLife Church, but confirmed that a security fence had been set up. Police officers were present at the church along with officials from Alberta Health Services, RCMP said. (RELATED: Eight Nuns Die From Coronavirus In One Week At Wisconsin Catholic Convent)
“Today, April 7, 2021, Alberta Health Services (AHS) physically closed GraceLife Church (GLC) and has prevented access to the building until GLC can demonstrate the ability to comply with Alberta’s Chief Medical Officer of Health’s (CMOH) restrictions,” Alberta Health Services said in a news release. “For several months, AHS has attempted to work collaboratively with GLC to address the ongoing public health concerns at the site.”
AHS said that they took several steps before closing the church, including issuing orders requiring GLC to comply with restrictions, sending a letter to GLC Pastor James Coates about the spread of COVID-19, and inviting the pastor to meet virtually for a discussion about the risks of coronavirus. They also issued a closure order in January requiring that the church close until GLC could comply with the coronavirus restrictions.
Pastor Coates spent 35 days in jail after being charged in February for violating coronavirus restrictions, the Canadian outlet Global News reported.
“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,” the news release said. “With COVID-19 cases increasing and the more easily-transmitted and potentially more severe variants becoming dominant, there is urgent need to minimize spread to protect all Albertans.”
Between July 10, 2020, and April 6, 2021, AHS said they received 105 complaints about the church. AHS also said that during that same time period they conducted 18 inspections of the church and found violations of coronavirus requirements at every inspection.