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Protestors demonstrate against mask mandate at Ardmore City Hall

Drew Butler
dbutler@gannett.com
A group of protestors outside of Ardmore City Hall ask for the recent mask mandate to be rescinded. Brian Edge, left, has started a petition at change.org demanding the mandate be reversed.

A group of protestors were outside of Ardmore City Hall on Saturday demonstrating against the city’s recent mandate of masks or face coverings when inside all public buildings. The protestors believe it is not the government’s place to tell citizens what they should do with their own bodies, instead they believe it should be up to the individual to make a personal decision.

Brian Edge, who has started a petition at change.org demanding the mandate be removed spoke about why they were protesting. He believes the city, which according to the city’s website posted the agenda for the mask mandate meeting at 8:58 a.m. on November 10, did not give proper notice prior to the commission vote.

“It’s not about the mask being a good idea, it’s about the government telling us it’s a good idea without us having an opinion on it,” Edge said. “This was passed without any type of public announcement. They posted the agenda and then said, oh, by the way, we’re going to do this and you are too. It’s about the government telling us what to do with our body.”

While he is not against anyone choosing to wear a mask, he believes it should be just that — a choice.

“I don’t know if I speak for everyone, but we are not against wearing a mask,” Edge said. “If you want to wear a mask because it makes you feel comfortable, by all means wear a mask. If a privately-owned business wants (people) to wear a mask, then by all means they can enforce the wearing of masks and people can choose to shop elsewhere.”

One of Edge’s concerns about the mandate is he believes the masks give the public a false sense of security about the virus. 

According to the CDC’s scientific brief on the wearing of cloth masks to control the spread of SARS-CoV-2 “masks are primarily intended to reduce the emission of virus-laden droplets (‘source control’), which is especially relevant for the asymptomatic or pre symptomatic infected wearers who feel well and may be unaware of their infectiousness to others, and who are estimated to account for more than 50% of transmissions.”

 However, he said an argument at the meeting was that the mandate should be put into place because masks have prevented medical professionals from getting sick.

“The argument I heard at the city meeting was that our nurses are wearing masks and they’re not getting sick,” Edge said. “But you’re requiring people to wear masks that are not educated on how to use them.”

He claimed that wearing the mask improperly can actually lead to more illness, both coronavirus and other infectious diseases.

“Surgical masks need to be disposed of once they collect all the particulates that are coming in,” he said. “Every time you handle it, every time you deal with it, you are exposing yourself to what you have supposedly been protecting yourself from.”

Edge also believes the masks give criminals an excuse to cover their faces and can help child traffickers smuggle children under the radar.

“When you cover people’s faces you are opening a door for criminals to legally cover their faces in public,” he said. “As a matter of fact, you’re requiring it. You are giving child trafficking an excuse to cover children’s faces where you can’t see whether they’re sad, scared or fearful. All you can see is their eyes.”

Edge said he will continue to fight the mask mandate and will be delivering a signed petition from change.org to Mayor Pfau later this week. Those interested in reading more of Edge’s arguments against the mandate or signing the petition can do so at www.change.org/freeardmore. As of 5 p.m. on Saturday 279 people had signed the petition.