ST. GEORGE — A crowd of 75-100 people gathered outside St. George City Hall on Tuesday to ask Mayor Jon Pike questions and air their grievances over COVID-19 restrictions.
Residents of St. George and neighboring communities asked Pike about his personal opinions on masks, COVID-19 treatment options and regulations. The group that organized the meeting, which calls itself The People’s Rights, brought concerns surrounding mask mandates, using hydroxychloroquine as a treatment, fears for businesses and economics because of regulations and even child trafficking being enabled through wearing masks.
The group reportedly told the mayor’s office up to a week ago that they were going to do a demonstration or protest and requested his attendance to voice their concerns. Pike obliged. When the demonstrators’ original planned date conflicted with a city council meeting, Pike even worked with them to reschedule it to a time he could be present.
“I said, ‘I’ll be happy to come outside, to listen and respond if you’d like me to,'” Pike said. “I knew that probably we wouldn’t agree on everything – or maybe most things – but I think it’s important to at least try to explain why we do what we do and why things might be the way they are, where the responsibility may lie for certain things on the COVID situation.”
Pike said his key message was “Let’s just try to think of others and do the best we can.”
“For me, that’s it: the best we can to help protect each other and to safeguard our healthcare givers who are doing their very best to take care of everybody,” he said, “obviously not just those who are suffering from COVID but everybody who has surgical or medical needs.”
The demonstrators brought microphones and speaker equipment, giving one mic to the mayor and using the other to ask questions. The discussion went on for about an hour and a half.
By the time it was done, the group seemed unsatisfied with Pike’s responses.
“We got answers, enough to go on,” attendee Jeffrey Kelley said. “We know where he stands. He’s not for the people. He said himself, he took an oath, and he said he’s not here to protect the people in his oath. He believes he serves some other branch of government.”
Kelley said he believed Gov. Gary Herbert is Pike’s “authority.”
“We take that very seriously here,” he said. “We believe that when he took an oath, he took an oath that gave him the power to serve we the people and no other entity. He’s there to protect us from all enemies, foreign and domestic, period.”
The demonstration occurred the same day Southern Utah reached its 100th COVID death. Dixie Regional Medical Center has reached full capacity and has gone into a “crisis care” mode, wherein patient care is triaged based on severity of case.
Pike said he believes “most people get it.”
“They understand,” he said. “There are some people that see it a different way. I respect their right to do so. I just think that first and foremost, I want to think – and I hope most people will think about – ‘How can I help others? How can I help the caregivers be able to also have a nice Christmas?’ for example. I think that’s by trying do our part to just control the spread of this nasty pandemic.”
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