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Anti-Mask Protesters Disrupt Gathering Of Union, Faith, Business Leaders Calling For Reinstatement Of Mask Mandate

SANTA ANA (CBSLA) — A group of 100 or more anti-mask protesters disrupted a gathering and news conference put on by pro-mask supporters outside the Orange County Board of Supervisors meeting in Santa Ana Tuesday.

The Orange County Labor Federation, an umbrella group representing about 90 local unions, has joined religious and business leaders gathered together to call for the mandatory wearing of face masks, a public health order that was weakened to a "strong recommendation" after the resignation of Dr. Nichole Quick.

Dr. Quick abruptly resigned from her post as Orange County's public health officer last Monday following threats, a protest in front of her home, and resistance from two Orange County supervisors after she made the wearing of face masks in public mandatory.

"We go to work everyday to help those who need us but the reversal of the universal mask policy puts healthcare workers at risk," Connie Montesano said.

Public health officials and the CDC have recommended the wearing of face masks as one of the best ways to slow the transmission of COVID-19 between people, especially in public areas where social distancing is difficult to maintain.

Some of the anti-mask demonstrators are the same people who took the mic at the board's meeting last week, demanding the mask order be lifted.

"I honestly feel like we've created a new prejudice," said demonstrator Alisa Finken. "Like those who wear a mask and those who don't. I had a friend, this man grabbed her arm and said, 'Where's your mask?'"

Santa Ana police were on scene, but the demonstration remained peaceful.

Face coverings are still required in food preparation, sales businesses, pharmacies and any other setting where workers interact with the public.

Last week was Orange County's deadliest since the pandemic began with 36 fatalities recorded between June 6 to Friday, and another 11 deaths Saturday and Sunday.

(© Copyright 2020 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. City News Service contributed to this report.)

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