Police monitoring Manitoba churches Sunday for health order violations

Manitoba RCMP blocked the parking lot of a church that was trying to host a service Sunday.

Global News reporters on the scene heard RCMP officers telling people if they walk into the parking lot toward the Church of God Steinbach, they will be fined.

Read more: Manitoba RCMP investigating Steinbach-area church after alleged public health violation

There were about 150 or so cars lined up down the road outside the church with people sitting in their cars.

There are at least 10 RCMP cars with officers walking in the area.

Global News staff on the scene also could see a minister preaching outside of the church.

The Church of God Steinbach, a chapter of a North American Christian denomination founded in the ‘80s, was slapped with a $5,000 fine after holding a Sunday service last week, which saw “well over” 100 people attend, RCMP said at the time.

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Global News tired to talk to people associated with the church on Sunday, but they declined comment.

Read more: Steinbach-area church fined $5,000 for not following COVID-19 health orders

The province banned all faith-based gatherings as part of the level red pandemic restrictions put in place on Nov. 12 while COVID-19 cases skyrocketed in the province.

The Southern Health Region, where the church is located, had 1,126 active novel coronavirus cases Saturday — 1,885 people have recovered since the virus reached the province, while 56 have died.

As of Saturday, 76 were in hospital.

Steinbach as recently as two weeks ago, had a test positivity rate of 40 per cent.

Click to play video 'Steinbach area minister slapped with nearly $2,600 in COVID-19-related health fines' Steinbach area minister slapped with nearly $2,600 in COVID-19-related health fines

Steinbach area minister slapped with nearly $2,600 in COVID-19-related health fines

The Steinbach RCMP detachment doesn’t necessarily plan to ticket attendees widely but says even drive-in services aren’t allowed.

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“The directions from the public health order, is basically any large gatherings being in the church, even in the vehicle, the province doesn’t want people getting together right now in such large numbers because we don’t want this virus to spread,” Paul Manaigre said.

“People need to get the message. We’ve all see on Facebook some of these health staff in Steinbach — they’ve made it quite clear their hospitals are full and we are asking people that we can help them out. These people need breaks. It’s frustrating. I understand people want to get out and do their regular business as far as church business but the health-care staff in Steinbach and everywhere else are getting burned out.”

-With files from Skylar Peters.

© 2020 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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