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Protesters stand against possible mask requirement in Springfield

Published: Jul. 13, 2020 at 10:48 PM CDT
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SPRINGFIELD, Mo. (KY3) - At its meeting Monday, Springfield City Council considered an ordinance that would require those 11 and over to wear masks in public. It would offer some exemptions for certain workplaces or those with some health conditions. For anyone else, not wearing a mask could lead to a 100-dollar fine. Businesses that don’t enforce that rule could lose their license.

More than 60 people spoke directly to the city council about the possible ordinance, while more than 100 more shared their opinions outside City Hall in a protest. Those who protested stood against the potential rule, saying being forced to wear a mask is unconstitutional, an infringement on their rights.

“Government overreach is not limited to the federal or state level. Government overreach can happen at the village level. This is a matter of government overreach,” said Bubs Hohulin.

Hohulin said he is a former state legislator.

“People need to go back about their business,” Hohulin said. “This has no more of a killer than the seasonal flu and we’ve never shut the country down over that.”

Rachel Shelton came to the protest wearing a shirt that read, “I do not consent,” showing a bear tearing a face covering.

“They’re asking businesses to enforce. So when have business owners become policeman to enforce an ordinance they themselves cannot enforce,” Shelton said.

Shelton said masks are not proven to be necessary.

“So why are we wearing masks to slow the spread of something that 99-percent of the people are recovering from,” Shelton said.

Kyle Wyatt was one of the community members who spoke directly to the city council Monday night.

“They tell us in the news this is to slow the spread but we’re seeing it across the country where there are mask ordinances already and it’s not working,” Wyatt said. “So why are we forcing healthy people to wear a mask when we know it doesn’t work?”

Like Shelton, Wyatt said the enforcement of the possible ordinance does not seem realistic.

“Is the city mayor really thinking about putting people in jail or costing them financially by opposing what we think is an unconstitutional ordinance,” Wyatt said.

Several other residents spoke to city council through a virtual meeting.

“Mandating masks is not for the people of Springfield. It is not constitutional and it infringes on all our rights,” one resident said. “There have been other studies on other studies like the flu and common cold on the ability of a mask to stop the spread and the conclusion was, they don’t work.”

Hohulin said the issue is political.

“This is a matter of freedom, it’s a matter of liberty. It never was a matter of health. This is about divide and conquer. This is about public submission,” Hohulin said.

Wyatt said the city council’s vote will have big impacts on the community.

“This decision’s not going to go unnoticed and it’s going to be remembered for a long time,” Wyatt said.

If approved, the mask ordinance could go into effect on July 16.

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