Rally To Reinstate OC Mask Requirement Drowned Out By Counter-Protesters
It was supposed to be a rally to convince Orange County's leaders to reinstate the requirement that masks must be worn in public to limit the spread of the coronavirus.
Instead, workers and leaders of local labor unions were drowned out by rowdy anti-mask protesters who shouted "I can't hear you over all the freedom" through a bullhorn and blocked speakers' faces with signs.
Last Thursday, the OC Board of Supervisors voted to end the county's requirement that masks be worn in public, including inside stores. The reversal came after the county health officer behind the original mask order resigned amid death threats and protests at her home by anti-maskers.
Now many retail workers worry they will get sick, according to Gloria Alvarado, the head of the Orange County Labor Federation, which represents multiple local labor unions. She worries a surge in people not wearing masks will lead to a spike in cases, and result in stay-at-home orders being reinstated and recently reopened businesses forced to close down.
This was the message Alvarado and others intended to convey at a rally outside the county's administrative offices in Santa Ana this morning.
But as this 18-minute video shows, loud protesters surrounded the speakers, playing guitars and yelling that the mask requirement was a "socialist agenda."
"It was extremely scary and disappointing," said Alvarado, who added that people also made racist comments to her as she spoke. "This is not the Orange County I grew up in."
New cases of COVID-19 in Orange County are up 23% since the beginning of June.
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