Reopen NC leader starts ‘Burn Your Mask Challenge’ opposing mandatory face masks

WILMINGTON, NC (WWAY) — As Governor Roy Cooper debates a statewide mandate on face masks, one North Carolina group is taking a stand against them.

The co-founder of Reopen NC took to Facebook and started a challenge to burn your mask in opposition to any mandate. The video quickly went viral around the state.

“Today I’m going to say loud and clear, ‘I will not comply. I do not consent,'” Reopen NC Co-founder Ashley Smith said. “I can’t think a more poignant way to say we’re going to resist the muzzle than to just light one on fire.”

Smith says a lot of people compare wearing a face mask to wearing a muzzle. She started the challenge to have others join and burn their face masks to take a stand again any state requirement for masks.

“We just really believe these regulations as far as mandates from the Governor’s office, that would enforce masking, mandatory temperature checking, things like that, these are just ways our freedoms are being eroded,” she said.

The “Burn Your Mask Challenge” was a response to Cooper’s announcement about the possibility of a statewide mask requirement.

“We’re just standing up and saying, ‘We’re not going to comply,'” Smith said. “It’s really that simple. It’s just a way to say, ‘We will not comply.'”

Smith says Reopen NC is against many of the mandatory regulations that have been put in place during the pandemic. She adds, a lot of people like herself have health conditions that make wearing a mask difficult.

“We really see this as a form of trying to control the population, and to force people to comply with something whether it’s backed by science or not,” she said.

Smith encouraged other people to follow along and use the hashtag, “#IgniteFreedom”.

She also adds she’s in support of hand-washing and all the other hygiene practices, but says North Carolinians are capable of taking the necessary safety precautions on their own.

Cooper expects to make a decision about a mask mandate next week.

Categories: Local, New Hanover, News

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