A meeting about wearing masks to slow the spread of coronavirus was abruptly ended after unmasked people packed the room. As the Salt Lake Tribune reports, around 100 people showed up at a public meeting in Provo, Utah, to discuss a mask policy for schoolchildren, but when the county commissioner chided people for crowding in, many of them unmasked, the audience loudly booed.
Footage of the meeting shows a crowd packed together shoulder-to-shoulder with a few people holding signs with anti-mask and pro-President Donald Trump sentiments. Many pulled tape off the seats meant to encourage social distancing.
County Commissioner Tanner Ainge opened the meeting with his mask pulled under his chin, saying he expected the gathering to be brief.
“This is the exact opposite of what we need to be doing. We’re supposed to be physically distancing, wearing masks,” he said.
The audience immediately began shouting and booing him, forcing him to speak loudly over the noise.
“All of our medical experts, our department of health, everyone is encouraging us to do that. This room is not complying with these health guidelines,” he said.
He then announced that he was ending the hearing and moving it to another date.
The crowd began shouting “vote him out” and “he’s trying to silence us” as well as objecting further as the motion to adjourn was approved in a 2-to-1 vote.
Much of the crowd remained after Ainge left to voice their concerns about a mandate from state Gov. Gary Herbert, which would require children returning to school in the fall to wear masks. Some people argued that masks would make anxiety or asthma worse and could make it difficult for teachers to interact with students.
One person suggested that wearing a mask would exact too heavy of an emotional toll on youngsters.
“It’s going to rewire their brains,” said one attendee who plans to homeschool in the fall. “I’m especially not going to send my son back to have his mind broken.”
She added that the chemicals used to destroy the novel coronavirus would too harsh and could harm children.
Others argued that coronavirus was comparable to the flu, heart disease, or wasn’t real at all.
“We are perpetuating a lie,” said one grandmother of five in attendance. “COVID is a hoax. It’s a lie. It’s a political stunt.”
A large number of attendees argued that wearing a mask should be a personal choice. Those who spoke in support of masks were largely shouted over. The state of Utah currently has more than 30,000 confirmed cases of coronavirus.
The issue of wearing a mask has become a political one in the U.S., with numerous instances of people getting into confrontations over whether to wear one. For instance, as The Inquisitr recently reported, an employee became enraged after being asked to wear a mask at a Dairy Queen by a drive-thru customer.