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Windsor pastor charged for breaking COVID-19 rules

Police have charged a Windsor pastor with breaking COVID-19 rules following a church service last Sunday.

On Thursday, Harvest Bible Church said in a news release that lead pastor Rev. Aaron Rock was charged under the Reopening Ontario Act by Windsor police.

"To our knowledge this is the first time that any Ontario pastor has been charged for fulfilling his God-assigned duties at a church," the news release reads.

In an emailed statement, Windsor police confirmed the charge in relation to a gathering on Dec. 19. Police said they have no further information to report.

Christmas during COVID-19 'not the time to hold social gatherings,' public health says

This news comes after the Windsor-Essex County Health Unit medical officer of health, Dr. Wajid Ahmed, said in a release Thursday that he is "not recommending in-person gatherings of any kind due to the high risk of disease transmission."

The church said that police told the church it will bar the congregation from entering on Christmas Eve. The church said it will "go underground" if it has to continue to host worship services.

It called out authorities in the city and said the banning of Christian worship is "discriminatory and unfair."

Under grey-lockdown restrictions in Windsor-Essex, Ahmed said if religious institutions are moving forward with in-person gatherings, they must be limited to 10 people at any time, including officiants, parishioners and staff.

He also said the following must be adhered to:

Actively screen all attendees and refuse participation to anyone that fails the COVID screening.
Ensure physical distancing at all times.
Ensure all attendees wear a mask or face covering.

Anyone not following provincial guidelines can be subjected to a fine ranging from $750 to $100,000, the health unit said.
1999: Name changed to “Constitution Party” by delegates at the National Convention to better reflect the party’s primary focus of returning government to the U.S. Constitution’s provisions and limitations.


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