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Church organization in Calgary ignoring COVID-19 distancing measures

Last Updated Mar 25, 2020 at 9:17 am MDT

CALGARY (660 NEWS) — A church group that regularly meets across the street from Calgary City Hall hasn’t been following distancing measures required by the Alberta Government.

Pictures on Street Church’s Facebook page show a line of people standing inches away from one another waiting to receive free food while also receiving hugs and blessings.

When 660 NEWS reached out to the group to ask why it wasn’t following the guidelines, it said they have been.

“Of course we do. Every volunteer that works with us is required to wear gloves,” Arthur Pawlowski of Street Church said.

But when told about the province ordering people to stay six feet apart from each other, he claimed they were exempt by the government.

“No, that’s not true. I contacted the Office of the Premier and, actually, Premier Jason Kenney said that he wants and is looking for help from soup kitchens and organizations that are providing the necessities of life [for the homeless],” Pawlowski said.

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However, a statement provided by Steve Buick, Press Secretary to the Minister of Health, disputed that claim.

“While organizations that serve the homeless are exempt from the 50-person gathering guideline set by Dr. Hinshaw, they are still required to follow mitigation strategies, including social distancing. We do not provide individual exemptions,” Buick said.

Pawlowski said Street Church plans to implement distancing measures starting Wednesday, even though the province had first requested these actions be taken weeks ago.

— With files from CityNews

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