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Freedom rally supporters say restrictions are harming our children

'Give people the choice with the restrictions because it is weighing on everyone's mental health'
20210403 covid freedom rally
Ian Hearns, Freedom Rally supporter, speaks to the media on Saturday afternoon at the North Bay Waterfront. Photo by Chris Dawson/BayToday.

A freedom rally to protest the latest COVID-19 lockdown measures which came into effect at midnight, took place on the North Bay waterfront on Saturday afternoon. 

About 40 to 60 people gathered for the event. None wearing masks and many carrying signs against the COVID-19 restrictions.    

Ian Hearns, a supporter who resides in the Trout Creek area, believes the restrictions are really being felt hardest by our youth.  

He says he sees so many depressed-looking children at the school bus stop near his home. 

"When you witness that multiple times a day, somebody has to do something," Hearns said about children.  

"Right now we are raising a generation of traumatized children."

See related: Anti-mask protesters discouraged to gather; may face fines 

Like many of those attending, Hearns believes Ontarians should have a choice to wear or not wear a mask and have a choice whether or not they should take a COVID-19 vaccine.

"Give people the choice with the restrictions because it is weighing on everyone's mental health," said Hearns. 

Earlier in the week, the North Bay Police warned they would hand out tickets relating to a large outdoor gathering like the Saturday protest. 

Currently, under the restrictions, residents are asked to gather outdoors in groups no larger than five.

As of 2:15 p.m. Saturday, the police had not handed out any tickets relating to the gathering but cruisers were seen monitoring the gathering from the parking lot.  

The North Bay Parry Sound District Health Unit was aware of the rally.  Dr. Jim Chirico, Chief Medical Officer of Health, was discouraging people from gathering. 

"People certainly have the freedom to express themselves but my concern is it puts people at risk when they are not physically distancing and you are not wearing face coverings," said Dr. Jim Chirico, during Thursday's weekly online media conference. 

Chris Dawson

About the Author: Chris Dawson

Chris Dawson has been with since 2004. He has provided up-to-the-minute sports coverage and has become a key member of the BayToday news team.
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