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Florida protesters sporting MAGA t-shirts and hats defied COVID safety rules and marched maskless through a Target store shouting 'take off your mask!' during a demonstration this week. 

Footage shared online shows a small group of anti-maskers marching through the aisles of the store on North Federal Highway in Fort Lauderdale shouting 'take it off' at other customers and cheering when people apparently complied.

  

The incident took place in hard-hit Florida where confirmed cases of the deadly virus have now topped 671,000 and the death toll is edging closer to 13,000.   

Republican Governor Ron DeSantis has not issued a statewide mask mandate for public places but several businesses - including Target - have nationwide rules requiring customers and staff to sport face coverings inside their buildings.

Florida protesters sporting MAGA t-shirts and hats defied COVID safety rules and marched maskless through a Target store shouting 'take off your mask!'

The video shows the anti-maskers - including some children - parading through the store, with some swinging masks in their hands and none wearing them on their faces

Footage shared online shows a small group of anti-maskers marching through the aisles of the store on North Federal Highway in Fort Lauderdale shouting 'take it off' at other customers

The video shows the anti-maskers - including some children - parading through the store, with some swinging masks in their hands and none wearing them on their faces. 

Some protesters were seen wearing Trump merchandise including 'Make America Great Again' t-shirts and hats while one wore a t-shirt featuring a photo of Barack Obama sporting a Trump hat. 

One man in a Trump top - a reference to Trump's refusal to wear a mask for much of the pandemic before sensationally backtracking in July - held aloft a speaker blasting the tune 'We're Not Gonna Take It' by Twisted Sister.

The group shouted 'take it off' and 'take your mask off' at customers shopping in the store. 

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One protester Cristina Gomez, who hit headlines in June when she claimed people wearing masks were 'obeying the devil's laws', posted the incident live on her social media account.

'If an infant doesn't wear a mask, then no one should wear a mask,' she said in her livestream.

'People looking at us like, 'What's going on?' Isn't it crazy how people now look at me like we crazy because we don't have a mask on? I think y'all crazy for having a mask.' 

Her footage also showed the man in the MAGA top standing on the trailer of a vehicle outside the store prior to the protest shouting about being 'sick and tired of having to wear one of these things'. 

Footage also showed a man in the MAGA top standing on the trailer of a vehicle outside the store prior to the protest shouting about being 'sick and tired of having to wear one of these things'

The man ranted that people who don't want to wear masks shouldn't need to before dramatically hurling his mask to the floor

The man ranted that people who don't want to wear masks should be protected from the virus because the people who do wear them are not spreading the virus. 

'If somebody wants to wear a mask to go into a grocery store let them wear a masks but how is it that if their mask is working that I have to wear one too,' he shouted, before dramatically hurling his mask to the floor.  

Gomez had promoted the so-called 'anti mask flash mob' on her Facebook page prior to the event. 

Back in June, the anti-masker also went viral on social media when she blasted a local mask mandate at a public meeting of Palm Beach County commissioners and made unsubstantiated claims masks were 'killing people'.

'You literally cannot mandate somebody to wear a mask knowing that that mask is killing people,' she said. 

'Every single one of you that are obeying the devil's laws are going to be arrested and you, doctor, are going to be arrested for crimes against humanity.' 

Target, which requires shoppers to wear masks or face coverings in its stores nationwide, told HuffPost they were 'aware of the group of guests who came into the store last night and we asked them to leave after they removed their masks and became disruptive and rude to other shoppers.' 

One protester Cristina Gomez hit headlines in June when she claimed people wearing masks were 'obeying the devil's laws' at a public meeting of Palm Beach County commissioners and made unsubstantiated claims masks were 'killing people' (pictured)

Florida does not have a statewide mask mandate but several businesses - including Target - have rules requiring customers and staff to sport face masks. The Target store the protest took place above 

The protest came less than 24 hours before the CDC head testified under oath that a face mask offers better protection against COVID than a vaccine.

'I am going to comment as the CDC director that face masks - these face masks - are the most important, powerful public health tool that we have,' CDC Director Robert Redfield said in a Senate hearing Wednesday.

'I might even go so far as to say that this face mask is more guaranteed to protect me against Covid than when I take a Covid vaccine, because the immunogenicity may be 70%. And if I don't get an immune response, the vaccine is not going to protect me. This face mask will.'  

Donald Trump has repeatedly yo-yoed on his stance on face masks. 

In April his administration recommended the American public wear face coverings - a backpedaling of previous claims masks were only for people who were sick.

However the president continued to refuse to wear one for several more months.  

In July he sported one for the first time during a visit to a military hospital and claimed he had 'never been against masks' and that they 'have a time and a place'.

This Tuesday he changed tact once more saying 'there are a lot of people that think that masks are not good'.

When pressed, Trump's only example was that waiters could touch their masks and touch plates when serving customers. 

A total of 34 states and the District of Columbia have face mask mandates in public places where social distancing is not possible. 

A total of 196,752 Americans have been killed by coronavirus and more than 6.6 million have been infected.   

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Airline Denies Mom and Son, 2, After He Refused to Wear Mask

PORTSMOUTH, N.H. (AP) — A New Hampshire woman was not allowed to stay on an American Airlines flight with her 2-year-old son because he would not wear a mask, stoking a discussion about how to balance compassion with rules designed to keep others safe.

In an Instagram post, Rachel Starr Davis of Portsmouth said while she was boarding a plane in Charlotte, North Carolina, a flight attendant told her the airline's policy is that all passengers over the age of 2 must wear a covering over their nose and mouth, the Portsmouth Herald reported.

Davis was flying with her mother and son to Manchester, New Hampshire, on Thursday, when her son refused to put on a mask, she wrote.

In her post, she said she “did everything I could while he was screaming and crying as I tried to hold him and put the mask on,” but eventually, the flight's crew asked all of the passengers to get off the plane. She also got off the plane and was then left behind as the other passengers got back on and departed.

Davis's post garnered over 180,000 likes and thousands of comments as some users on Instagram argued that the flight attendants were doing their jobs while others decried a lack of compassion for a mother traveling with a young child.

“Policies are enforced and approved face coverings are made available at key points throughout the customer journey,” American Airlines spokeswoman Gianna Urgo told the newspaper. “We’ve reached out to the family to learn more about their recent travel experience and to address their concerns.”

Davis said she had been contacted by American Airlines and said she wants an apology for how she was treated, the newspaper reported.

Davis' experience is the latest example of how airlines are struggling to coax travelers back on board while enforcing new rules designed to keep their employees and others safe.

In August, another mother of a 2-year-old and her other children were kicked off a flight in Florida as they were returning back to New York, and earlier last week, another woman was asked to leave a flight because her 2-year-old son would not immediately put his mask on correctly, NBC-2-TV reported.

Copyright 2020 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Tags: Florida, New Hampshire, North Carolina

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