KANSAS CITY, Mo. — After a Wednesday night meeting full of jeers and heckling, protesters made a last stand before Kansas City council members extended the city’s indoor mask mandate Thursday afternoon.
Kansas City’s new mask order was ultimately approved 10-2. It will remain in effect through Sept. 23.
Although city and health largely leaders agree on the decision, some of the most vocal members of the public told FOX4 they believe the mask requirements are akin to “tyranny.”
One protester wore a yellow star on her dress, evoking symbolism from the holocaust. Kansas City Mayor Quinton Lucas called the comparison to victims of the holocaust “despicable” on Twitter.
But the group standing against mask mandates Thursday certainly isn’t alone. The crowd of protesters during Wednesday night’s committee meeting was larger and louder.
Still, new polling released this week shows nearly 2 in 3 Americans support their state or local government requiring masks in public places to slow the spread of COVID-19. An Axios-Ipsos poll released Tuesday found that 64% of Americans favor the mandates.
Protesters at Thursday’s full council meeting said they’re skeptical of the media, who they feel have villainized them.
“We were peaceful. I mean, there were some people yelling, but it’s because we’re upset. Nobody’s listening to us,” said one protester, who asked not to be named.
The protester said she only wanted to talk briefly about her motivations.
“I guess the big message that I think people should know is that this ordinance, this mask ordinance that they’re putting together — it has to do with fines,” she said.
“People don’t realize this is going to be a law, and that means that if you go into an establishment without a mask, that means that you are going to get anywhere from a $25-500 fine, possible imprisonment. That should make everybody very upset and very worried,” she added.
The new ordinance codifies penalties for mask non-compliance and includes wording on how the Kansas City Police Department will be involved in that enforcement.
The protester went on to say that, through her own research and anecdotes among friends, she’s convinced that masks actually cause health issues while providing no protection from COVID-19.
“I have friends who are doctors. I have friends that are scientists. It’s not like I’m just saying, ‘I don’t want to wear a mask because I don’t care about people,'” she said.
Public health experts, however, have repeatedly stressed that face masks are perfectly safe and the most effective way to prevent the rapid transmission of COVID-19.