ST. GEORGE — On Thursday afternoon, the Utah Walk for Freedom Facebook group held its third rally, this time taking their efforts to the road.
The group caravanned from Ivins to Hurricane with messages, signs and American flags decorating their cars.
The rally started at the Ivins City Hall where the group of cars then traveled through St. George on St. George Boulevard, went onto Red Cliffs Drive and continued on through Washington on Telegraph Street. After going through Washington, the caravan of cars made their way to Hurricane where they finished the rally.
According to organizer Larry Meyers, the goal of the rallies has been to promote the message of freedom and the opposition of the government further interfering in the lives and businesses of people in Utah.
“It’s good that things are getting better, but from the beginning, we feel like it should have just been recommendations and that there shouldn’t have been government pressure to close things down,” Meyers said. “For example, the restaurants, we felt like restaurants should have been able to stay open if they chose to and the people could choose whether or not they want to go out to eat.”
Meyers felt like Utah was too heavy-handed in comparison to other states, citing the state of South Dakota’s response to the pandemic. He is happy that the state has moved to yellow, but hopes they will move to open the state soon.
“I think Utah was better than most, but there’s other states such as South Dakota that didn’t shut down anything at all,” Meyers said. “They had some cases, they had people die, but it wasn’t like they had huge horrible outbreaks just because businesses were still operating. Our group feels like the South Dakota model would have been ideal.”
South Dakota has seen 4,177 COVID-19 cases and 46 deaths in comparison to Utah’s 7,808 total cases and 92 deaths according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
South Dakota did catch national attention after there was a COVID-19 outbreak at the Smithfield Foods pork facility in Sioux Falls. Being one of the largest pork processing facilities in the country, the facility accounts for 4-5% of pork production in the United States, according to a Smithfield Foods press release.
Rally participant Leonard Matthews said from what he saw of the first rush of COVID-19, the virus does not seem to be any worse than the ordinary flu season, and he is ready for things to go back to normal.
“We’ve been enthusiastic about getting this thing behind us because we think there’s so much political involvement in it that doesn’t need to be,” Matthews said. “We’re doing this to show our support, and we feel like anything that can happen to draw the public back to awareness instead of believing those that are exaggerating in the East.”
As for Utah’s move from orange to yellow, Matthews seemed to be in agreeance with Meyers. He said the move to yellow is a step in the right direction, but it has been too slow. Matthews wants to see the state open up completely.
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