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ST. GEORGE — About 100 Utahns gathered on Wednesday evening outside of Washington County city offices to protest Gov. Gary Herbert’s health directives as unconstitutional.
A video posted to the Facebook account of Mary Burkett, who is running for Utah’s 2nd Congressional District seat, shows dozens of individuals gathered together holding signs in protest of what they called governmental overreach.
“We’ve got a really good group of people coming,” Burkett says in the video. “It’s pretty exciting. We’ve got some more folks coming.”
Burkett told KSL.com in an email about 100 people attended and "numerous cars came by honking horns."
Various signs can be seen in the video, reading “Resist like it’s 1776” and “America will never be a socialist country.”
Attendees were asked to follow social distancing guidelines and avoid gathering in large groups. Instead, participants were directed to walk around the block as individuals or families "to express their support for freedom."
"In compliance with the Utah Stay Home, Stay Safe directive and for the safety and comfort of all involved, the Walk For Freedom will obey public safety laws and follow the guidelines of avoiding gatherings of people, maintaining six feet distancing between individuals, and encouraging participants to wear masks and/or gloves if they feel it is necessary," a statement on the Walk for Freedom Facebook group read.
The measure came in response to the novel coronavirus pandemic as COVID-19 cases continued to rise in the state.
Hundreds of people have come out to downtown St. George for the ‘Walk for Freedom’ to oppose Utah state and local officials’ restrictions on restaurants, non-essential businesses and other organizations pic.twitter.com/EFwXNklOYy— James Wilkins (@terelljwilkins) April 15, 2020
“We can only hope that the mayor and the governor are listening,” Burkett says in her Facebook video.
The event, organized by Larry Meyers, was intended to “demand that Utah’s state and local legal restrictions on these rights be lifted,” so Utahns can return to work with “appropriate precautions,” a news release reads.
“The government, at all levels, has overstepped its authority in their quest to ‘protect’ Americans from a virus,” Burkett said in a news release. “While well-intentioned, it’s naïve for the mayor, and others, to think shutting down our local economy will ‘protect’ families.”
As of Wednesday, there were 39 confirmed COVID-19 cases in Washington County, according to the Southwest Utah Public Health Department.
So far, 20 Utahns have died of the virus and 2,542 confirmed cases of COVID-19 had been reported by the Utah Department of Health.
The governor’s office and Washington County Sheriff’s office did not immediately return a request for comment.