Fewer worshippers, but some at Calgary church still not following health orders
CALGARY -- It’s the first weekend since a Calgary church service drew attention from police and health officials, but on Sunday, it seemed a bit less defiant of Alberta’s Public Health Act.
Fairview Baptist Church welcomed in fewer worshippers this week, appearing to keep their attendance under the allowable capacity limit.
But as the church faces multiple tickets under the PHA, those inside on Sunday weren’t listening to every order.
Roughly half of the people CTV News saw heading in to worship were not wearing masks.
That goes against a provincial order, as well as the City of Calgary’s bylaw, that makes face coverings mandatory inside places of worship.
Fairview Baptist’s leaders have been warned two weeks in a row about mask rules.
At the starting of January, an executive order from Alberta Health Services (AHS) claimed "only two of approximately 75 attendees were wearing masks" during a service.
That week, the church was hit with a violation that resulted in a $1,200 fine.
The city said Thursday that even more fines are pending.
There was no sign of police or AHS for most of the morning.
That’s quite the contrast from one week ago, when dozens of bylaw officers and police members were at Fairview Baptist, talking to those heading inside and taking licence plate numbers.
Church leader Tim Stephens previously told his followers in an online post that the decision was up to them on whether they wanted to follow health orders or not.
On Sunday, Stephens told CTV News he was unhappy with media coverage from the previous week, claiming “lies” were being spread about the police interaction and an anti-lockdown sign that was displayed in front of the church.
He has turned down multiple requests for an interview.