COVID-19: AHS orders Calgary’s Fairview Baptist Church to close after rules defied, pastor arrested

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Calgary's Fairview Baptist Church pastor, Tim Stephens, has been arrested for not complying with public health orders. Jackie Wilson reports – May 16, 2021

Alberta Health Services issued a closure order to Calgary’s Fairview Baptist Church on Monday, saying it was in violation of COVID-19 restrictions.

The health authority issued the order one day after the church’s pastor, Tim Stephens, was arrested for organizing services that allegedly did not comply with public health orders — including masking, physical distancing and attendance limits. Stephens was released from custody on Monday.

Read more: Calgary pastor arrested after allegedly flouting COVID-19 rules

The order said between 100 and 150 people were seen leaving the church, located at 230 78 Ave. S.E., at the end of the service on Sunday.

“The pastor and church attendees were observed unmasked as they were leaving the church,” AHS added.

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“The church attendees were not maintaining at least two metres physical distance from other households when exiting the building.”

Click to play video: 'Calgary pastor and mayoral candidate released after alleged COVID-19 violations' Calgary pastor and mayoral candidate released after alleged COVID-19 violations
Calgary pastor and mayoral candidate released after alleged COVID-19 violations – May 17, 2021

Police said Sunday that last weekend, Stephens was proactively served a copy of the Court of Queen’s Bench order obtained by AHS, which he acknowledged but did not follow.

Read more: Calgary mayoral candidate, pastor both released after alleged COVID-19 violations

On Monday, AHS ordered the church to close to the public immediately and the owner to effectively demonstrate to an executive officer that they “are willing and able to comply with all relevant and active” restrictions.

Alberta Health Services has issued a closure order for Fairview Baptist Church in Calgary after it violated COVID-19 rules. Global News

Until that work is completed, the church will remain closed, AHS said.

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Global News reached out to Fairview Baptist Church and will update this story if we hear back.

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