'No longer justified': Idaho parents, kids burn masks at state Capitol in protest of mask mandates
Parents in Idaho headed to the state's Capitol building with their children Saturday to burn their masks, contesting continued mask mandates and violating local orders.
Idaho Republican Gov. Brad Little never enforced a state-wide mask mandate, but several of the state’s districts enforced county-wide regulations to slow the spread of the deadly virus.
Eastern Idaho Public Health Director Geri Rackow announced earlier this week, that due to the dip in cases and hospitalizations, the state's seventh district was lifting their mask mandate.
"I feel that continuing to issue public health orders is no longer justified," Rackow said during a Thursday board meeting, reported East Idaho News.
Though she added, "I make a plea for personal accountability for everyone to make the choice for yourself to help in slowing the spread of the disease."
Videos posted to twitter Saturday by an Oregon Public Broadcasting reporter, show parents surrounding an old bin on fire as kids chucked masks into the flames. Photos of Democrat lawmakers were also reportedly burned in the protest deemed "burn the mask."
While counties around the state have seen mask mandates repealed, cities have continued to enforce the safety precautions – including Boise.
Fox News could not immediately reach the Boise Mayor Lauren McLean’s office for comment on Saturday’s events.
McLean issued a mask order in late February after the Central District Health board voted to roll back mask regulations, prompting Republican lawmakers to introduce legislation that would bar government officials from enforcing mask mandates.
Republican state Rep. Karey Hanks claimed that she had done research "on the physical and emotional and even mental injuries to our bodies, and possibly even our souls," that mask mandates have allegedly caused.
"When people wear face masks, they tend to not social distance as much, not tend to wash their hands, take other safety precautions because they feel that they’re just taken care of because of the mask," she said.
Idaho has confirmed over 172,000 cases of coronavirus since the pandemic started, with more than 1,800 deaths.
President Biden has called on everyone to wear a mask for the first 100 days of his presidency, and said that by May the U.S. should have 300 million vaccines – nearly enough to vaccinate the entire country.
But states like Texas and Mississippi have rejected the president’s calls for safety and lifted all coronavirus related restrictions, including mask mandates.
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Biden has been frustrated by the decision of Republican officials not to heed advice given by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and take continued precautions, calling the Republican governors "Neanderthals" earlier this week.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.
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