News release

Pastor of Gospel Light Baptist Church in Amherst Fined Under Health Protection Act

Robert Smith, pastor of the Gospel Light Baptist Church in Amherst, has been fined for a gathering which contravened the COVID-19 order under the Health Protection Act.

The gathering took place from October 25 to 29 in Amherst.

The summary offence ticket was issued today, November 17 by the inspection, compliance and enforcement division of the Department of Environment and Climate Change after an investigation. The fine amount was $2,422.

Police are responsible for investigating any possible criminal aspect which would involve the laying of charges under the Criminal Code.

“I am upset and concerned by this situation which was preventable and shows a complete disregard for public health measures meant to keep us all safe. Because of the actions of a reckless few, we now have a spike in cases related to an illegal gathering in the Northern zone in late October,” said Premier Tim Houston. “I hope Nova Scotians who are looking for loopholes or to disregard the Public Health Order will see this as an example of there being zero tolerance for this behaviour. Those who choose to disregard the law and put others at risk may be fined or possibly face other charges.”

As a result of the faith-based gathering where many who attended were not vaccinated, there has been secondary transmission of COVID-19 in Northern and Western health zones, workplaces and the East Cumberland Lodge long-term care home. The home has had 31 residents and 10 staff test positive for COVID-19, and two of the infected residents have died. Another death in Northern Zone has also been linked to the gathering.

Additional Resources:

Nova Scotia’s COVID-19 vaccine plan: https://novascotia.ca/vaccineplan

Booking a COVID-19 vaccine appointment: https://novascotia.ca/vaccination

For more information about COVID-19 symptoms, testing and online booking, visit: https://novascotia.ca/coronavirus/symptoms-and-testing/

Nova Scotia gathering limits and other COVID-19 restrictions and guidance: https://novascotia.ca/coronavirus/restrictions-and-guidance/

Government of Canada: https://canada.ca/coronavirus or 1-833-784-4397 (toll-free)

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Media Contact:

Tracy Barron
Cell: 902- 223-1465 Email: