Updated July 8, 2020 - 7:47 pm
Nearly 100 people gathered in Henderson on Wednesday in opposition of the mask mandate announced by Gov. Steve Sisolak last month.
No Mask Nevada, a political action committee, hosted the rally in the southeast corner of West Sunset Road and North Stephanie Street, near the Galleria at Sunset mall.
The mandate from the governor went into action June 26 after numbers of coronavirus cases broke daily records. Sisolak’s order mandates face coverings be worn in public, with some exceptions for children, those with disabilities and people actively eating or drinking. Nevada became the 17th state to enact the new rule.
Protesters’ signs read “No Mask Nevada.com” and encouraged drivers turning onto Sunset to remove their masks. An American flag and a Gadsden flag also blew in the wind.
Pahrump resident Faith Muello, 39, said the mandate prevented her from making choices herself.
“My body, my choice,” she said. “If people want to wear masks, they can.”
Muello brought an American flag with her, which she said was her attempt to remind fellow protesters of their right to assemble under the First Amendment.
Ann Sorensen, 64, of southwest Las Vegas, came with her husband and said this was her first protest because she felt determined to change the mandate.
“Why do I want them to step on my freedom?” she said. “I come from a Third World country, and I came here for my freedom.”
At the edge of the group lining the sidewalk, 8-year-old Therese Guthrie sat on her father’s shoulders holding a sign. Her four siblings, Elizabeth, 8, Gianna, 4, Holly, 9 and Christabel, 14, and her mother, Graciela, 47, stood around her. James Guthrie said he brought his children to teach them to stand up for what they felt was wrong.
“We have a right to assemble for a peaceful protest when we don’t feel a law is right,” he said.
Christabel Guthrie said she thinks a mask mandate is an overreaction to the number of cases, hospitalizations and deaths.
“We think people should be able to make their own choice,” she said. “Other people are bullying them into it, and it’s peer pressure. Not a lot of people have died.”
The group was also protesting Henderson Assemblywoman Lesley Cohen, who will be up for re-election in November. A statement from the PAC called Cohen a “fierce pro-mask mandate candidate.”
Paul Kendall, 73, of southeast Las Vegas, said he’s frustrated because he believes politicians who are paid by taxpayers don’t listen to constituents about the pandemic.
“We have no platforms to discuss on a rational basis and no leadership to engage us,” he said.