Shawn Vandop at Chilliwack’s Main Street Church in March 2020 as the church went to online services because of the COVID-19 pandemic. (Eric J. Welsh/ Chilliwack Progress file)

Shawn Vandop at Chilliwack’s Main Street Church in March 2020 as the church went to online services because of the COVID-19 pandemic. (Eric J. Welsh/ Chilliwack Progress file)

LETTER: Gyms are open so why not churches?

‘I have the fundamental constitutional freedom of religion and assembly under the Charter’

Under Dr. Bonnie Henry’s new orders, why is it that businesses can safely operate with COVID measures in place but places of worship cannot?

Most churches are the same size as your local grocery store and can easily abide by social distancing and any other COVID regulations. If our movie theaters for example, are given permission to safely operate with special measures in place, surely churches should be given that permission too. Besides, churches have the space capacity, separate entrances, and more then one bathroom facility.

I would argue that churches are much more essential for one’s spiritual, emotional, and mental health then being able to get sweaty and pump weights in a public fitness club with more than 50 people. I long for in-person worship. Online services simply don’t cut it.

Additionally, as a Canadian citizen, I have the fundamental constitutional freedom of religion and assembly under the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms and not the constitutional freedom to lift weights and watch movies. It is fair of me to expect my provincial and municipal government to respect this.

Lydia Heetebrij

Chilliwack

READ MORE: Chilliwack churches adapt to life without live services

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