City of Calgary issues 33 tickets for COVID-19 public health order violations

CALGARY — City bylaw officers wrote up more than 30 tickets for violations related to the COVID-19 pandemic, including two more related to offences at a southeast Calgary church.

In a media update, the City of Calgary says peace officers handed out 27 tickets for failing to wear a face covering. It also said six more were issued for Public Health Act violations.

City officials say two tickets were handed out to staff at Fairview Baptist Church on March 15. The violations were related to a lack of social distancing and holding an indoor gathering that was over capacity.

The question and answer page on Fairview’s website, written by Pastor Tim Stephens and dated March 5, says the church will continue to hold gatherings to “stay faithful to our commitment to God.”

“We had a full church on Sunday and expect attendance to increase each week. We cannot abide by the 15 per cent capacity rule and stay faithful to our commitment to God and to one another as a church. We leave masking up to attendees and their own conscience before the Lord.”

A provincial order, effective Dec. 13, 2020, states that faith services are limited to 15 per cent of fire code capacity for in-person attendance.

“Physical distancing between households must be maintained,” the government says. “Mask use is mandatory.”

Alberta Health also says virtual or online services are recommended under the current stage of the relaunch.

So far this year, there have been five tickets issued to staff at the church.

Since Aug. 1, 2020, the city has issued 304 tickets for failure to wear a face covering where required and 204 for violations of the Public Health Act since Calgary’s state of local emergency was declared in November.

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