Utah County Commission Meeting Goes Viral After Maskless Protesters Pack Room
SALT LAKE CITY, Utah – Utah County made national news and was trending on Twitter Thursday morning after a group of unmasked protesters crowded into a Utah County Commission meeting on Wednesday.
Commissioner Bill Lee addressed the crowd of approximately 100 anti-mask protesters before the meeting began, the Deseret News reports. Lee reportedly told the group that masks would be optional inside the meeting.
He added an agenda item to the meeting asking the commissioners to vote on a letter directing the Utah County Health Department to ask Gov. Herbert for a “compassionate exemption” to a statewide mask mandate for all K-12 schools.
Protesters then crowded into the chambers and ignored markers on the floor for social distancing.
However, commissioners were not able to vote on anything.
The meeting ended up lasting just a few minutes as commissioner Tanner Ainge cut the gathering short due to the unsafe conditions created by a crowd of people who were neither socially distancing nor wearing masks.
“This is going to be brief, I think,” Ainge said as he spoke to the crowd, some of whom had masks attached to their faces but were not covering their noses or mouths. “This is the exact opposite of what we need to be doing. We need to be physically distancing, wearing masks.”
The crowd interrupted the commissioner with boos, and one person held up a sign that appeared to read “No masks!”
“All of our medical experts, our department of health, everyone is encouraging to us do that,” Ainge said, raising his voice to be heard over the attendees. “This room is not complying with these health guidelines. This creates a health concern for this meeting.”
“I’m going to suspend the rules,” he finished, “and I’m going to suspend the rules and I’m going to make a motion to continue this entire meeting to another date.”
He then made the motion, which was seconded, and Ainge adjourned the meeting to a later date. The gathered protesters could be heard yelling afterward.
The county’s YouTube video had more than 5,200 views Thursday morning,
Ainge took Twitter, sharing a Washington Post article on the Utah County Commission meeting, writing that the “group does not represent a majority of Utah or Utah County.”
“They were organized by (Utah County commissioner Bill Lee) to recklessly pack the room for a vote that should not have even been on our agenda in the first place,” according to Ainge’s tweet.
This group does not represent a majority of Utah or Utah County.
They were organized by Bill Lee to recklessly pack the room for a vote that should not have even been on our agenda in the first place.
— Tanner Ainge (@TannerAinge) July 16, 2020
After the meeting, Ainge told reporters gathered outside that the Utah County Commission doesn’t have any power as far as the mask mandate for all K-12 schools because it’s a state directive.
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