Protesters at Vernon City Hall call for no COVID-19 lockdowns

Call to end lockdowns

A group of frustrated individuals gathered at Vernon City Hall Sunday to protest the measures taken to slow the spread of COVID-19, and to voice their concerns over the effects those efforts are having on our economy.

"Make sure we stand six feet apart — not that we need to, because this virus is a hoax," said one of the protesters named Chris, who refused to disclose his last name. "But if I want to hug someone, I'm going to give them a hug."

The protesters did respect the physical distancing measures, as police did a walk-by early on in the gathering. The group discussed whether or not COVID-19 numbers were being inflated, the validity of COVID-related reporting and how the health measures were impacting their everyday lives.

"Waiting in lines outside of stores is not normal — we don't want it anymore, and it needs to stop," said Sylvia Herchen, a physiotherapist who had to shut down her operation due to the pandemic. "Rational thinkers would think quarantine is when you restrict the movement of sick people — tyranny is when you restrict the movement of healthy people."

The protesters questioned the credibility of Dr. Anthony Fauci, the United States' top infectious disease expert, but did not mention Dr. Bonnie Henry, B.C.'s provincial health officer.

"Dr. Shiva Ayyadurai says that the HIV hype was manufactured by Dr. Fauci, who is now instrumental in telling President Trump what to do," said Herchen, referencing a Republican senate candidate who erroneously claims HIV does not cause AIDS. "It's just creating fear."

Toward the end of the gathering, the protesters discussed solutions to the problem at hand.

"There's really two solutions here," said Chris. "Create the narrative by spreading the truth, and manifesting peace, love and freedom."

The group plans to meet at least every week.

Health officials in B.C. are currently urging the public to not let their guard down and continue social distancing. Hospitalizations and new COVID-19 case counts have remained stable for the past 10 days, something doctors say is thanks to current social distancing efforts. 

“We are not over the hump yet, and we are going to have a bumpy road for a while,” Dr. Henry said Thursday. “We are holding our own, and we are keeping it down, but we all need to continue to do this. Going into this long weekend, it's more important than ever that we keep going, that everything we are doing now, we keep up.”

British Columbia's total number of confirmed coronavirus cases now stands at 1,445, including 58 deaths.

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