EDMONTON -- A church west of Edmonton has been ordered to close after it failed to comply with a public health order issued in December.

Grace Life Church of Edmonton at 51529A Range Road 262 was cited on Dec. 17 for a number of violations, including church members, employees and volunteers failing to wear masks, lack of physical distancing, and probably exceeding of the 15 per cent fire code capacity limits.

The order required the church to fix the violations immediately.

The church was issued an AHS order over non-compliance with COVID-19 precautions on Dec. 17.

On Jan. 21, a Court of Queen’s Bench order was granted to enforce that health order after the church failed to comply with the requirements.

Alberta Health Services said an inspector visited the church and found the following violations:

  • There were over 290 people attending the church service on January 24, 2021, in excess of the 15 per cent total operational occupancy load as per the Alberta Fire Code.
  • Church attendees, staff/volunteers were observed unmasked in the church lobby and in the sanctuary.
  • It appeared that church attendees, staff/volunteers were not maintaining at least two meters physical distancing from other households.
  • The Relaunch Plan Template outlining all activities that take place in the church, including meetings and other gatherings, details of risk mitigation measures to be implemented to prevent the transmission of COVID-19 and the process by which they will monitor the number of people inside the church has not been submitted to Alberta Health Services Executive Officer for review.

As a result of the visit, AHS issued an order on Jan. 29 to close the church to public access immediately. The church must remain closed until all violations can be addressed.