The mayor of Prince Albert, Saskatchewan is calling for “strict consequences” after a church linked to a COVID outbreak confirmed that their singers did not wear masks.
Mayor Greg Dionne called on the province to fine the local church organizers at Full Gospel Outreach Centre as the number of cases connected to the outbreak are expected to rise.
The CBC reported Saskatchewan premier Scott Moe's reaction to a question about if there would be any consequences:
“I don't know of the particular contact tracing and what that's revealing in the case of Prince Albert. I did read that there was maybe some interprovincial travel involved,” Moe said, adding that he would let the contract tracers do their work.
“Our staff are working very hard.”
Provincial health authorities on Wednesday confirmed that six people who had attended services at Full Gospel had tested positive for the virus, and that some of their close contacts have also been diagnosed.
“They weren't wearing masks. The rules say they have to,” complained Dionne. “So take action. People have to know that we're a strong government.”
Saskatchewan's government website outlines the following rules for singing in church:
- Singing is a high-risk activity because the virus can be transmitted through saliva or respiratory droplets. One documented COVID-19 outbreak resulted in the spread of the virus to 87 per cent of choir attendees from one infected person. Therefore, singing is not recommended at this time.
- Although not recommended, when singing, participants must wear masks.
- Where leaders of services are required to sing, they must increase the distance between the congregation to prevent transmission of respiratory droplets and/or wear a mask.
According to Ian Lavallee, the evangelist who led the church meetings at the centre of the outbreak, masks and hand sanitizer were available.