The Chilliwack RCMP says it has issued fines amounting to $18,400 to three Chilliwack churches that violated COVID-19 restrictions.
The province banned in-person religious services in November as part of a suite of new measures intended to curb surging coronavirus case numbers.
A number of religious institutions in the province have protested the measures, which they say violate their constitutional rights. Several churches in the Fraser Valley have continued with services.
The RCMP said three churches have been charged with eight violations of the health order relating to incidents on Dec. 6 and Dec. 13, but is not identifying which institutions they are.
Global News cameras captured worshippers attending services at both the Free Grace Baptist Church and Chilliwack Free Reformed Church in recent weeks.
Last Sunday, worshiper Damien Dupont at the Free Grace Baptist Church told Global News that while “every life is important,” the majority of people dying of COVID-19 were over the age of 70 and had co-morbidities.
He said that risk did not justify the restrictions placed on the broader community.
“It’s disproportionately affecting the elderly, and yet we’re locking down society which is causing a whole host of knock-on effects,” he said, pointing to economic and mental health impacts.
“I think it’s important to support them because I agree with the stance they’re taking and pushing back, and I think it’s necessary that we do that.”
Provincial health officials say they have documented COVID-19 transmission in several religious settings around the province.