100 folks attend anti-mask youngsters’s carnival in Saskatoon

About a hundred people attended an anti-mask children’s carnival in Saskatoon on Saturday, despite rising case numbers, more contagious variants in the province and a COVID-19 exposure warning for the latest anti-mask event.

At around 2 p.m., the participants arrived at the Vimy Memorial in Kiwanis Park. About half were young children. Adults and children blew soap bubbles and played with hula hoops. Nobody wore a mask.

A flyer for the event said it would be a “fun day” for children with face painting, balloon animals and “science table experiments”.

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The flyer also said that “donations of fish pond items or healthy packaged snacks are accepted and appreciated”.

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The night before the Saskatchewan Health Department issued a COVID-19 exposure alert to anyone who attended an anti-masking event in Prince Albert last Saturday.

It states: “(i) Individuals who attended this event on April 17, 2021 must immediately self-isolate and call HealthLine 811, their doctor or nurse.”

An anti-masker tweeted that he was at the Prince Albert event and hugged and shook hands with other attendees.

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He wrote that he was going to attend the Saskatoon Carnival and had been to Costco, a co-op, several stores, and even client houses since the Prince Albert event.

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He said he wouldn’t isolate himself.

A few hours before the event began, Saskatoon Mayor Charlie Clark urged residents to stay away, tweeting, “(w) e currently have over 50 people in intensive care units in this province out of breath.”

“Stay home and stay away from these dangerous rallies,” he wrote.

The day before Carnival, 52 people across Saskatchewan were in intensive care for COVID-19 – a new record.

That number dropped to 51 on Saturday.

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The Saskatoon Police Service (SPS) cordoned off nearby Saskatchewan Crescent for the event, with patrol vehicles posted at each barricade.

The day before the SPS issued a statement saying that many concerned residents had come forward.

The statement said officials will be in attendance “to make sure it is peaceful and that restrictions under the Public Health Regulation are being enforced”.

“Enforcement activities may not always be visible to the public,” the statement said.

The statement said the police response was a balance between protecting people’s rights to express their views and ensuring general public safety.

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It also states that officials “use investigative techniques to identify key stakeholders and those who are committing outrageous acts for whom enforcement action would be appropriate”.

It said the SPS could bring charges following an investigation and police have issued 25 tickets for public health violations in Saskatoon since the pandemic began.

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According to the Saskatchewan government, two people died of COVID-19 in the 24 hours leading up to the event.

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