RCMP officials have repeatedly stated that those measures were not followed while they were on scene. The parking lot was filling quickly around 10 a.m. Sunday, prior to the 10:45 a.m. sermon from Coates.Two RCMP cruisers arrived shortly after the start of the sermon. The officers spoke with someone outside of the church for a few minutes before leaving the grounds. However, one cruiser remained behind and parked just off the property.
Coates was released from custody Monday after pleading guilty to breaching a court undertaking that revolved around following COVID-19 public health restrictions. He remained at the Edmonton Remand Centre for 35 days after not agreeing to following court orders if released.
When asked last week what steps Alberta Health can take to enforce public health measures if orders continue to be ignored, spokeswoman Sherene Khaw said enforcement decisions are made by local health inspectors or law enforcement.
Shawna King, a spokeswoman with Alberta Justice, echoed that line, saying individual enforcement decisions are made by the local health inspector.
RCMP spokeswoman Cpl. Laurel Scott said Tuesday police are able to issue tickets in relation to public health regulation breaches. She said when it comes to GraceLife Church, RCMP are available to assist Alberta Health Services this Sunday if necessary.
RCMP have previously said only a public health inspector has the authority to shut down an establishment.
Alberta Health Services spokesman Kerry Williamson said he did not have anything further to add when asked who is able to enforce orders. He did not expand on what further steps AHS public health inspectors may be considering if the church continues to not follow public health restrictions.
Alberta currently allows in-person faith and religious gatherings to be held to a maximum of 15 per cent of fire code capacity as long as physical distancing can be maintained and masks are worn.
By contrast, British Columbia is set to allow indoor worship services of up to 50 people or 10 per cent of a building’s capacity, whichever is less.