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Dr. Mackie said people supporting anti-health measures rally are ‘rooting for COVID’

Aylmer Ont. residents opposed to the demonstration lined the streets with some heated moments between residents who did not want the anti-mask rally in their town. Nov. 7, 2020.
Aylmer Ont. residents opposed to the demonstration lined the streets with some heated moments between residents who did not want the anti-mask rally in their town. Nov. 7, 2020. Sawyer Bogdan / Global News

London’s medical officer of health has a clear message for people planning to participate in the anti-health measures rally scheduled for London Ont. this weekend — they’re choosing COVID-19 over the health of the community.

The self-titled “Lawful Freedom Rally” is happening this Sunday at Victoria Park in London at 1 p.m.

The protest is against mandatory health restrictions put in place to curb the spread of the coronavirus, like gathering limits and mandatory mask-wearing. It will feature people who have been outspoken against mask-wearing and some that advocate against vaccines.

“Masks are very well established as an important control measure for reducing the spread of COVID-19,” Dr. Chris Mackie told reporters Thursday.

“No one has ever said it’s perfect but [mask-wearing] definately contributes to reducing the spread, so anyone who against that is essentially rooting for COVID-19 instead of the health of the population.”

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Read more: ‘We don’t want you here’: St. Thomas mayor responds to anti-lockdown protest

Sunday’s demonstration comes after similar events in Aylmer, Woodstock, and St. Thomas.

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Although the gathering in Aylmer two weeks ago saw around 2,000 people, the one in St. Thomas saw a crowd of about 200.

On the London event’s Facebook page, only 25 have said they are going with 38 more people interested.

Read more: Thousands join in Aylmer ‘Freedom March’ against coronavirus public health measures

“These people want attention and recognition, and I am not prepared to give them that,” London Mayor Ed Holder said on Thursday.

London’s mask by-law came into effect on July 21 following city council approval.

Masks are required in all indoor places throughout the city, and those not following the bylaw could face a fine of $500 or more.

The bylaw excludes children under 12 years of age and people with medical conditions or disabilities, which inhibits their ability to wear a face-covering.

Those unable to apply or remove a face covering themselves are also exempt from the new rule.

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