Protest over federal mask and COVID-19 vaccine mandates held in Panama City

Panama City

PANAMA CITY, Fla. (WMBB) — A hot topic facing Florida is the debate over mask and vaccine mandates.

While there are none in the state, some Bay County residents said they want to make sure it stays that way.

A group of protesters held signs and waved at the corner of 23rd Street and Highway 77 on Thursday.

Local yoga instructor Jessica Banks said the group was protesting both potential mask and vaccine mandates in schools and workplaces.

“I hope that the community sees that there’s people that are against the mandates and that we have a voice here, even though we have a great governor, we have a great mayor,” Banks said. “People in the city are pretty much on our side, as well.”

And while Governor Ron DeSantis and the legislature voted against mandates, the Biden Administration announced vaccine mandates in July for all federal workers.

Masks are also required on federal property under President Biden’s executive order.

“I am tired of having an administration that is trying to force chemicals into people’s bodies against their will,” protester Andrea Owens said. “Trying to force people to choose between their job and taking a vaccine, and being told way too many times what to do with our lives in way too many aspects.”

There are currently no mask or vaccination mandates in Bay District Schools.

However, the CDC recommends the COVID-19 vaccination for everyone 12 and up.

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