More than 30 individuals enter St. Charles unmasked, protest mask policy


Source: @patriottakes on Twitter

Video and images circulating on social media show police called to the St. Charles library after more than 30 individuals entered the library unmasked. No arrests were made.

Nathan Yuan and Jeremy Zhao

The St. Charles public library reopened in-person services Feb. 7 after an “organized group of 30-40 individuals came into the library’s Youth Service department… willingingly violating library policy,” according to a statement from the library.

The demonstration came after a St. Charles mother and her five children were escorted out of the library because two of her children were wearing face shields, not masks. In response, Shannon Adcock, president of Awake Illinois, and Chrissi Bretz, founder of Freedom Illinois organized a demonstration. 

“We went there to enjoy the library after a person’s rights were violated,” said Adcock. “It was a lovely morning. It’s a beautiful facility… Hopefully they don’t deny other people their rights so that they go to enjoy a public taxpayer funded resource in the community.” 

Footage from the Awake Illinois’ Instagram shows unmasked kids and unmasked adults checking out books, reading and playing games. After the group refused to leave, the library called the police. No arrests were made.

The library’s new mask policy adopts governor J.B. Pritzker’s COVID-19 Executive Order No. 87, which requires all individuals regardless of vaccination status to wear a mask in the library. Mesh masks and face shields are not allowed, but special accommodations are made for patrons who cannot wear face masks. 

Following the demonstration, the library shut down for about two weeks after it received “hundreds communications and social media commentary” that threatened “physical retaliation.” According to the library’s statement, messages included “They don’t even know what a threat to safety is yet” and “Freedom rules. You guys are going to go down.”

Adcock said that “[violence] is not the culture of my organization by any means.” 

“I would never subscribe to the threat of violence,” Adcock said. “But when people make those accusations they better be able to back it up. Because there are people who truly are threatened and harassed.” 

For Adcock, the incident serves as a reminder to the personal liberties of all patrons. 

“People have to be familiar with their rights and protections, and if anybody is violating it, then they have to address that,” she said. “If you aren’t being afforded your due process in rights under the law, some people are going to have a real issue with that. And I happen to be one of them.”