A Manitoba judge has ruled against a Winnipeg church’s application to hold drive-in church services, that are banned by current public health orders in place due to the coronavirus pandemic.
Springs Church took the Manitoba government to court after being fined more than $32,000 for holding drive-in church services, that are currently barred under level red restrictions, which are set to expire on Dec. 11.
In court Saturday morning, lawyers for the church argued the services are safe, and are no different than sitting in a drive-thru lineup, waiting in your car for curbside pickup, or even sitting at a red light in traffic.
Lawyers for the province argued that the church has not provided evidence of harm, in the difference between listening to a church service in your car versus listening to a church service online or at home. Springs Church is also streaming their services on YouTube and Facebook.
The province also argued that there was no legally defensible way to exempt Springs Church and not another religious organization.
The judge sided with the province’s argument and denied the church’s application.
The church has also argued that the public health order violates charter rights. A decision on that will be made at a later date. In court Saturday, Chief Justice Glenn Joyal was deciding only on whether or not Springs Church could be allowed to hold the drive-in services.
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