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Anchorage

Anchorage dance 'mob’ protests COVID-19 emergency restrictions

About 50 people gathered outside the Anchorage Assembly Chambers at the Loussac Library in Anchorage to dance as a form of protest to COVID-19 related business restrictions on September 15, 2020. (Marc Lester / ADN)

In an act of defiance, a group of dancers gathered outside the Loussac Library Tuesday evening, doing the twist, the boot scootin' boogie and other classics for more than an hour while the Anchorage Assembly held its regular meeting inside the building.

At one point, the Kenny Loggins classic, “Footloose,” blared from the PA system.

The maskless group was protesting Anchorage Mayor Ethan Berkowitz’s emergency order that bans dancing and loud music in bars and restaurants, inside or outdoors.

“The latest emergency order places restrictions on loud music and dancing in bars, nightclubs, breweries, and similar businesses because the Anchorage Health Department and the CDC tell us that unmasked close mingling of strangers in those settings has proven particularly dangerous for the spread of COVID-19,” Berkowitz’s spokeswoman, Carolyn Hall, said in an email.

Bernadette Wilson, a local business owner and former conservative talk radio host, organized the dancing “flash mob.”

About 50 people gathered outside the Anchorage Assembly Chambers at the Loussac Library in Anchorage to dance as a form of protest to COVID-19 related business restrictions on September 15, 2020. (Marc Lester / ADN)

”It’s to highlight how absolutely ridiculous it is that the mayor said no music and no dancing," Wilson said.

Ami Conant of Anchorage felt the rhythm at the gathering with her three young children. Like Wilson, she didn’t understand why the order was necessary.

She said she thought the mandates don’t have anything to do with COVID-19, especially the dancing and loud music ban. She said her opinions on the virus differ strongly from the mayor’s.

“I don’t wear a mask, I don’t believe this is something our immune systems can’t handle on its own,” she said. “We eat healthy, we take care of our bodies and our immune systems will fight off the rest.”

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends wearing cloth face coverings when outside the home, citing increasing evidence that they help reduce transmission of the virus.

Bernadette Wilson leads a conga line. About 50 people gathered outside the Anchorage Assembly Chambers at the Loussac Library in Anchorage to dance as a form of protest to COVID-19 related business restrictions on September 15, 2020. (Marc Lester / ADN)
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