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Utah officials say thousands attended Halloween rave protesting coronavirus rules

Utah officials say thousands attended Halloween rave protesting coronavirus rules
© Screenshot KSLTV

Thousands of people attended a Halloween party on Saturday in Utah to protest COVID-19 guidelines, according to NBC News.

Speaking to NBC affiliate KSL, Utah County Sheriff's Office spokesperson Sgt. Spencer Cannon said “several thousand” people were discovered to be in attendance. Cannon estimated there were 2,000 to 10,000 people at the party.

As reported by KSL, videos of the event showed young people, appearing to be high school and college aged, failing to practice social distancing or wear masks. No arrests were made, though Cannon stated that charges may be brought against the party organizers for hosting the mass gathering without a permit.

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A spokesperson for Utah Gov. Gary Herbert (R) said in a statement, "We must decide, and show by our actions, that the lives of everyone around us matter more to us than parties. If we do not, we will have a difficult time beating COVID-19 as a society."

According to authorities, the event was hosted by The Tribe Utah. Both The Tribe Utah and Utah Tonight advertised an event called “The Protest on Halloween,” KSL reported, but the clubs had claimed the event would be canceled after receiving public backlash.

"We find it both disheartening and concerning that some within our society have allowed fear to supplant basic rights of assembly, giving individuals within the media and some public servants the ability to control what we consider to be a 'pursuit of happiness,'" Utah Tonight said in a prepared statement.

The Utah County Health Department said in a statement on Sunday, "As we struggle in our local and statewide communities to contain the COVID-19 virus and mitigate its impacts on our communities, it is unfortunate that some would ignore public health and medical guidance and plan and participate in an event that would allow for the ready spread of the disease between individuals which can then be taken back by these individuals to our communities and infect others who are trying to follow public health and medical recommendations."

The health department also implored those who attended the parties to monitor themselves for COVID-19 symptoms and get tested if any are noticed. NBC News noted that most counties in Utah are currently reporting “very high rates” of COVID-19 cases.

According to KSL, authorities responded to another party in a warehouse with about 1,500 people in attendance. It is unknown who hosted this event.