WALLA WALLA, Wash. (AP) — A day after a school board meeting in Walla Walla, Washington was halted because of a person protesting COVID-19 mask requirements, a council meeting was shut down there by a large anti-mask crowd.
On Wednesday, about 100 people packed into City Council chambers at least in part because of bogus rumors of a city-wide vaccination mandate, The Walla Walla Union-Bulletin reported.
In reality, the council planned to discuss a federal vaccine mandate for large employers, which elected officials believe may apply to the city’s employees.
After Mayor Tom Scribner told the crowd that masks were available and required, a woman in the crowd raised her voice, demanding to know what authority Scribner had to mandate a mask in the meeting.
Last month, Gov. Jay Inslee announced a statewide mask mandate for indoor public spaces — regardless of vaccination status — to help slow the surge of COVID-19 cases mostly in unvaccinated people.
Scribner told the newspaper he tried to explain the requirement but the woman continued to say he did not have the authority to require masks and others in the crowd began yelling.
Scribner said he asked an officer to escort out the woman out but the group refused to leave, arguing the officer did not have the authority.
City leaders with police consultation ended the meeting.
The coronavirus mainly spreads through droplets that are emitted when people talk, shout, cough and sneeze. Masks lower the likelihood of those droplets reaching other people.