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Protesters rally downtown against mask mandate

The protest is set for noon Thursday
Published: Jul. 23, 2020 at 11:48 AM CDT
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MADISON, Wis. (WMTV) - A planned protest against the indoor mask mandate in Madison and Dane Co. is getting push back from county executive’s office before it even begins.

Approximately 45 minutes before noontime event, Dane Co. Executive Joe Parisi issued a statement defending the health order, arguing that masking “reduces illness, prevents suffering, and saves lives.”

“(A)sking someone to wear a mask for a few months in order to stave off a deadly pandemic doesn’t strike me as an unreasonable request, but rather an opportunity to help reduce suffering in our community,” he continued.

Organizers of the rally plan to assemble Thursday at the Department of Public Health and then march to the Capitol. They contend that orders like this violate their right to decide if they should wear one.

“We are weary of mandates and being told what to do, amongst all of the freedoms and things that have been already removed,” an announcement for the demonstration read.

Their statement also asserted that people in Wisconsin were lied to in regards to how dangerous the virus was, how long the restrictions would last, and that opponents were being irresponsible by protesting.

Despite the nature of the event, they did remind participants of the county’s mask mandate and cautioned participants to bring one in case they needed to go into any businesses.

A sign during the protests
A sign during the protests(Elise Romas/WMTV)

“COVID-19 didn’t have to spread this far, this fast. States that ignored science-based guidelines are now seeing extraordinary caseloads, full hospitals, growing death tolls, and degrees of sickness among all ages that was sadly preventable.

"Individual decisions to not follow scientific guidance on the health benefits of masks are compromising the well-being of others. We need to come together as a community and be there for one another, especially for those who are most vulnerable.

“COVID-19 threatens our families, our communities, and our livelihoods. The fastest path to reducing the spread of COVID-19 and maintaining economic activity is through an indoor masking requirement. Masking reduces illness, prevents suffering, and saves lives. In light of this, asking someone to wear a mask for a few months in order to stave off a deadly pandemic doesn’t strike me as an unreasonable request, but rather an opportunity to help reduce suffering in our community. The vast majority of people in Dane County understand this and support the masking policy. Those who don’t agree have a right to express their opinions.”

Full statement from Dane Co. Exec. Joe Parisi

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