In Utah, a public meeting about a mandatory school mask policy was canceled after dozens of people not wearing masks filled the room.
It comes after the Utah Governor, Gary Herbert, ordered all teachers and students to wear face masks inside schools and on buses in an effort to stop the spread of coronavirus.
Despite the order being brought in in an attempt to save lives, and despite public health experts saying the evidence is clear that masks help prevent the spread of the virus, many residents were not happy about it and went to the meeting to voice their concerns.
The gathering in Provo was called by Utah County Commissioner Bill Lee, who intended to propose a vote for a “compassionate exemption” from the statewide mandate because he “trusts teachers and parents”.
Shortly, the small room quickly filled up with dozens of mask-less people who arrived with signs protesting face masks. They also removed the social distancing tape that had been placed on chairs, and the room was overflowing.
According to ABC4 News report, Utah County Commissioner Tanner Ainge said the meeting “violated current health recommendations” and moved to suspend the meeting until a later date, with his motion to adjourn approved with a 2-to-1 vote. Lee voted against it.
“This is the exact opposite of what we need to be doing,” Ainge said to the crowd at the meeting. “We are supposed to be physically distancing, wearing masks.” The audience responded with a loud chorus of boos.
Despite the meeting getting canceled, many people in the audience stayed, along with the two other commissioners besides Ainge. Outside the building, Lee answered questions from parents, who gathered closely around him without a mask.
“I think it’s totally wrong,” Denna Robertson told Lee. “I think it’s a political hoax, and I am against masks.” Another person, Carly Lisonbee, said Ainge and others wanted to “override a parent’s decision over what they think is best for their child’’
“I think you’re forgetting we live in America,” Lisonbee continued. “And we the people decide. You work for we the people, not the other way around.”
Tina Cannon, a former teacher, agreed, telling the crowd: “Since when do we have a constitutional right to put other lives in danger? We can’t smoke in public places — because it puts other people’s lives in danger.”
With coronavirus cases in Utah spiking each day, with more than 30,000 cases recorded and the state this week being declared a ‘red zone’ for the coronavirus, it’s difficult to see why residents would so blatantly ignore scientific advice.
Studies and public health experts have shown that masks are an important way to slow the spread of the virus, with CDC director Dr. Robert Redfield saying the pandemic could be brought under control in less than two months if the public were to embrace mask-wearing now.