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In Idaho, parents and children burn masks at the Capitol steps

Anti-maskers encouraged children to burn face masks in Boise, Idaho

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Protesters gather outside Central District Health’s office in Boise, Idaho, on Tuesday, Dec. 15, 2020. CDH was meeting virtually to consider a mask mandate. Anti-maskers encouraged children to burn face masks in Boise, Idaho

Protesters gather outside Central District Health’s office in Boise, Idaho, on Tuesday, Dec. 15, 2020. CDH was meeting virtually to consider a mask mandate. Anti-maskers encouraged children to burn face masks in Boise, Idaho

Associated Press

Parents cheered and celebrated as their children tossed face masks into a fire outside the Idaho Capitol in Boise over the weekend, The Washington Post reports.

  • The incident happened at a rally where people spoke out against COVID-19 restrictions for the state.
  • Idaho has never adopted a face mask mandate for the entire state. But local counties have implemented restrictions in their own areas.

Republican state Reps. Dorothy Moon and Heather Scott supported the rallies before the weekend, according to The Washington Post. In fact, both Scott and Moon appeared in a video that supported the protests.

  • “At 10 a.m., people are going to be lighting up burn barrels to throw masks in, mandates, emergency orders and replications thereof, because I think everyone is ready for these emergency orders to be lifted,” Moon said in the video.

Videos of children tossing face masks into the fire made their way to social media and quickly went viral. The videos showed children standing over a blue-green barrel and tossing surgical masks inside as a sign of protest.

However, the Idaho State Police said it is investigating the fire at the rally.

“Those involved with the event were informed both before and during the event that open flames are not allowed on State Capitol grounds,” according to the State Police, The Idaho Press reports.

Context:

Idaho has been something of a hot spot for COVID-19 during the coronavirus pandemic. The state ranked nationally among states with a high amount of cases in July and also in October. In fact, Idaho’s positive test rate led the entire United States at one point, as I wrote about for the Deseret News. Concerns were so high that Oregon worried about people from Idaho crossing over into Oregon.

Idaho Gov. Brad Little admitted in November 2020 that the state didn’t do enough to stop a spike in cases.

  • “We’ve come to the profound conclusion that what we’ve been doing hasn’t been working,” he said.