TAYLORSVILLE, Utah — Roughly 20 people gathered in Taylorsville Saturday to express their frustrations with Gov. Gary Herbert's mask mandate.
The protesters planned to walk through stores in the area without masks to protest their requirement.
“I see some people with glass masks, [N95] masks, I see people with gas masks," said Kish North, organizer of the demonstration. "No one has come out and said, ‘Hey, you have to wear this kind of mask,’ and make it a law. There’s no law! It’s a mandate. What is that?"
Those participating, formed from the Concerned Citizens of Utah Facebook group, walked through a nearby Harmons and Walmart on Redwood Road.
“The reason Harmons is so adamant about wearing masks is the professionals are in agreement, for the most part, that this is the best thing to do to keep our community safe," said Kent Haslam, store director of the Taylorsville Harmons.
He added that the goal of requiring masks in the store is to keep both shoppers and his staff safe.
“This is unfortunate that we have to wear masks," Haslam said. "But I just think that the more we all work together, the quicker we get through this.”
North said they oppose the mandate in the name of individual rights and the right to choose what's best for them.
“What we have a problem with is them infringing on our constitutional rights," he added. "And trying to mandate a mask that unfortunately doesn’t work.”
According to a study done by Brigham Young University, which is posted on the state's coronavirus website, there is evidence that shows wearing masks significantly reduces the spread of COVID-19.
The statement on the website reads: "there is now convincing evidence from multiple controlled experiments and field observations that wearing masks reduces the transmission of COVID-19 for healthcare workers and the public. Most of this evidence is COVID-19 specific and has emerged in the past few months.”
Joseph Landsverk was shopping at Walmart when the protesters walked into the store without masks. He said he was concerned with the protest.
"My thought is they don’t have somebody that died or somebody that’s got [COVID-19] who’s really ill," Landsverk said. "When that happens, they’ll have a whole change of outlook."
Landsverk's daughter got COVID-19 a few months ago from a co-worker and is still dealing with lingering symptoms.
"COVID is real," North said. "But for six weeks now, these tough mandates to wear a mask, and in a lot of cities and states, three-to-five times the cases have increased."
Although North believes both COVID-19 and the pandemic are real issues, he and his group still disagree with the mask requirement in stores and the governor's mask mandate.
"It's a fallacy, guys!" he said emphatically. "It's true, it's a fallacy. Masks aren't working!"
You can learn more about the governor's mask mandate and the study about their effectiveness at coronavirus.utah.gov.