- A group of mask-less protesters marched through a Florida Target on Tuesday night, encouraging other patrons to remove their masks.
- A viral video shows the group shouting, “Take off your masks!” and “We aren’t going to take it anymore.”
- Since the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic, mask wearing has been elevated from a medical precaution to a cultural statement.
- Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.
Melisa Folz, a 28-year-old boutique owner from Florida, was shopping with her mother and aunt at a Target in Fort Lauderdale Tuesday evening when she heard chanting and screaming coming from a few aisles over. She stopped and looked around the store and then a large group of anti-mask protesters rounded the corner.
“Take off your masks,” a blonde woman leading the group shouted, pumping the air with the balled-up mask held in her fist. “We aren’t going to take it anymore!”
Another man, dressed in a red “Make America Great Again” t-shirt, carried a speaker playing rock music above his head and gestured for another patron to de-mask and join in. “Yeah, we got someone!” he said excitedly.
Since the outbreak of COVID-19, mask-wearing has been politicized, mutating from a public health measure to a cultural statement. In Washington, politicians have flip-flopped their stances on masks. In supermarkets, mask-compliance has sparked stand-offs between customers and employees. In July, a French bus driver was beaten to death by passengers that refused to wear masks.
The Fort Lauderdale group, composed of about 11 people according to Folz’s video, spanned from young men in “Make America Great Again” hats and t-shirts to young women to a little boy.
The Fort Lauderdale Target, has an explicit mask policy, with a sign outside the door that tells customers: “Face coverings are required by order of Broward County; all guests must be wearing a face covering to enter the building.”
“I was in shock. This is disgusting,” Folz said in an interview with Business Insider. “They weren’t angry at all. It seemed like a joke to them.”
A nurse looking on at the scene said that she worked in a hospital’s COVID-19 ward, and commented, “That’s so disrespectful,” according to Folz.
As the group passed, a message came over the intercom asking the group to leave, Folz said. At that point, her family decided to distance themselves from the group. Folz’s mother said, “Let me get my toothpaste… and let’s get the hell out of here,” according to Folz.
At checkout, she noticed that a few police cars were parked outside the store, lights flashing. Folz showed a police officer the video she took, but was told that there was nothing the police could do, as law enforcement was too late to the scene, Folz said. The officer encouraged her to post the video online and let social media do its work, she said.
Target did not immediately respond to requests for comment about the incident.
View original article here Source