Mandatory mask critics rally for Newport store

By Guy Page

About 50 people braved a Northeast Kingdom snowstorm yesterday to rally in support of embattled Newport print shop owner Mark Desautels’ stand against the state’s masking directive.

Last week, UPS ended its franchise relationship and Vermont Attorney General TJ Donovan filed three civil suits in connection with Desautels’ decision to let employees not wear masks. Persistent in allowing a voluntary mask-free environment, Desautels reorganized the store under a new name, Derby-Port Press.

The commotion only started after he posted a sign on the door explaining the long-standing policy to customers.

“We haven’t worn a mask for a year,” Desautels told Claudia Stauber, host of the Facebook video series Cabin Talk.

“Two weeks ago we put up the sign,” Desautels said. “Once we did that, all hell broke loose. The state came down on us. UPS came down on us. The state filed suit on us, they’re trying to close us down.”

To make matters worse, Desautels’ landlord has sent him an eviction notice. “She wants us out by the end of the month,” Desautels said.

RELATED: Owner optimistic as former UPS Store moves forward as Derby-Port Press

On June 15, 2020, Governor Scott issued Executive Order 1-20 that allowed for the resumption of nearly all business, non-profit, and government entity operations subject to “occupancy limits and physical distancing, health and sanitation and training requirements set forth in ACCD Work Safe Guidance.” The guidance from ACCD requires that “Employees must wear face coverings over their nose and mouth when in the presence of others.”

The AG’s office confirms the general timeline of events as described by Desautels, although Donovan does say a ‘cease and desist’ letter was sent in November. According to the AG’s office, “After it was reported that the Defendants were not in compliance with the Governor’s orders, the Attorney General’s Office sent a cease and desist letter on November 10, 2020, informing the Defendants of the mask requirement for employees and advising them to comply.

“On February 17, 2021, in response to additional reports of noncompliance, the Attorney General’s Office sent a second warning to the Defendants and again requested immediate compliance with the mask mandate. Despite repeated warnings from the Attorney General’s Office, and multiple outreach and education efforts made by the Newport Police Department, the Defendants have refused to comply with the Governor’s orders.”

In the suit filed Friday, Donovan said state law gives him the authority to file the suits: “The Vermont Attorney General is authorized under 20 V.S.A. § 40 to enforce against violations of provisions taken under Vermont’s Emergency Management laws, including orders of the Governor made under such Authority.”

A fund to support the store has been started, details are available on Stauber’s video.

In a related story, the Town of Stamford decided January 21 it would not proceed with its municipal ‘termination’ of the Governor’s Emergency Order. According to 1/21 minutes, Selectboard member Mike Denault “announced that after further research, Attorney [Deborah] Bucknam agrees with the Attorney General’s interpretation of a natural disaster and will not be able to represent the town. Therefore, the Selectboard cannot pursue the termination of the Governor’s emergency orders.”

On Dec. 22, Stamford affirmed its status as a “constitutional town,” after defying the directive to not hold an outdoor public meeting by holding a community Christmas tree lighting Dec. 3.

Read more of Guy Page’s reports. Vermont Daily is sponsored by True North Media.

Image courtesy of Public domain

21 thoughts on “Mandatory mask critics rally for Newport store

  1. Through out human history pandemics have caused more death and suffering than any other scourge we as a species have faced and must be taken seriously. In the past this has often meant trying to isolate oneself and ones family and wait until the devastation has passed and some herd immunity established. Over the years we have learned to do better. Vaccinating for small pox was one of the first ways in this country and we have gotten more tools, thanks to science since then.

    The Vermont State Motto is: Freedom and Unity
    These are two somewhat contradictory ideas and there will always be tension between the two.

    Freedom is in fact not an absolute and comes with responsibility. When our freedoms affect others there is reason for our elected leaders to take actions that may be a minor inconvenience to an individual but benefit society. We also have the right to not elect those who we feel are not handling a pandemic well. This was the major reason Donald Trump lost the election, which if there had not been a pandemic he would most likely have won. Conversely, competent handling of the pandemic also the reason while Phil Scott was re-elected.

    Of course people can refuse to obey laws and regulations. If that is what they choose to do, and this goes for protesters on both the left and right, they should be willing to accept the consequences.

    • What has happened is not “a minor inconvenience to an individual but benefit society.” What has happened is a bastardization of the science so that only the most oppressive measures have been used to combat Covid-19: masking, social distancing, closing of schools and businesses. Yet there is no good evidence for any of these measures, with the possible exception of some measure of (voluntary) social distancing. Instead of seeking to “do no harm” and following common-sense policies as outlined in The Great Barrington Declaration– focused protection on those most at risk while allowing the rest of society to carry on– we’ve opted for widespread businesses destruction, the creation of unnecessary fear and anxiety, and a tyrannical stance toward the population.

      To fight Covid-19 we have measures that we should have been using– hydroxychloroquine and ivermectin– which are safe and effective drugs, but these avenues have been deliberately shut off in favor of non-pharmaceutical measures that infringe on our liberties. This is wrong, and is the result of a bizarre twisting of evidence to make it appear as if hydroxychloroquine, for example, is ineffective and dangerous: wildly off-the-mark studies using wrong doses in the wrong patients at the wrong time, and then presented to the public as if these studies discredited the actual, proper use of hydroxychloroquine to fight Covid-19. It is truly astonishing. Witness the publication in The Lancet of a fabricated, peer-reviewed study on hydroxychloroquine that was so bad that it had to be retracted: whose bright idea was it to try to slip that one in?

      It’s time to stop this nonsense. We say, “the data, the data,” but what about the data? Whose data? Where does it come from? You mean “the data” like the trash that the Lancet published? Data is being cherry-picked, and the data we should have been using all along was the data that told us that we could have kept businesses and schools open and should have encouraged the use of the Zelenko protocol early on, and let the people themselves decide how they want to stay safe.

      How about we start using “the data” that supports freedom and liberty and stop using the junk they’ve been using to support tyranny?

      • Jim,
        Data should not be used to support any pre-decided conclusion. Scientific peer reviewed data indicates what we actually have and the best possible options to take.
        The problem is when we interject personal politics into how we attempt to treat a disease. Donald Trump treated Covid-19 not as an illness but a personal affront and based his actions on that. Phil Scott has treated it as a disease and used the best advice from health experts to guide his policies. And that has made all the difference.

        • I disagree. Donald Trump rightfully touted hydroxychloroquine as a way to save lives, and for that he was ridiculed and mocked as the “hydroxychloroqueen,” with appropriate photo-shopped laced dress. So who was politicizing this, Trump or his opponents? We’ve since learned from a review by Yale’s Dr. Risch and from a January, 2021, publication in the American Journal of Medicine that hydroxychloroquine and other antimalarials, used early, “may reduce the progression of disease, prevent hospitalization, and are associated with reduced mortality.” But we knew this back in March! Dr. Zelenko had reported on his clinical experience and urged us to adopt his simple, low dose, five-day plan of safe medications. What did Dr. Fauci do? Nothing. He did NOTHING. Several states, including NY State, even instituted regulations that forbade the use of hydroxychloroquine in outpatient settings. Who was really politicizing this? Why did this disgraceful attack on a drug that would’ve saved lives even occur?

          “Scientific peer-reviewed data”? Do you mean like the scientific peer-reviewed data that appeared in the world’s most prestigious medical journal, The Lancet, concerning hydroxychloroquine, which paper was pure junk and had to be retracted? Was that politics or science? How was it possible for those peer reviewers to miss what readers readily saw and protested against, even without background data? Someone wanted that paper published and told the reviewers to turn a bind eye. That’s politics, not science.

          Dr. Fauci has done tremendous damage to our country in his failure to lift a finger to help provide us with drugs that we know would have saved lives, and through his encouragement of an attitude of fear and obedience to authority rather than standing up for the liberty upon which our country was founded. He failed to advise us on a sane and rational approach such as The Great Barrington Declaration, which was undoubtedly the path of least harm. He has shamefully cherry-picked the least bit of science on face masks and disregarded everything else. Dr. Fauci has failed us, the NIH has failed us, and the CDC has failed us, and for political, not scientific, reasons. No amount of spin can make this betrayal disappear.

          • Jim,
            It is interesting that while Trump promoted it , Trump’s medical team did not use hydroxychloroquine in his treatment when he and his family got Covid-19.
            Maybe I have just have had good experiences in my life, but all the medical people that have treated me over the years and all the medical people I know are caring professionals who if they found a better and safe way to treat a deadly illness would not hesitate to use

          • John,

            Hydroxychloroquine is primary used as a preventative or in the very early stages of Covid-19. There are other effective treatments out there. We have to remember that when Trump got Covid, HCQ had already been wrongfully discredited through such antics as the egregiously bad pseudoscience published in The Lancet. HCQ is slowly being resuscitated.

            No one is saying that doctors aren’t overall good, caring people who do the best they can. But what do they do when the word comes down from the top that “pharmacokinetic and pharmacodynamic studies” for invermectin, for example, “suggest that achieving the plasma concentrations necessary for the antiviral efficacy detected in vitro would require administration of doses up to 100-fold higher than those approved for use in humans.” This is from the NIH website. Now, this is undoubtedly true: I have no doubt that pharmacokinetic and pharmacodynamic– that is, modelling studies– suggested that the doses needed to be effective might be dangerous. But did the NIH take the next step and consult the numerous studies that show that actual clinical experience demonstrates that low, safe doses are very effective? No, they did not. Why, then, do they cherry pick data to scare physicians off this drug? It makes absolutely no sense.

            The abuse and betrayal is coming from the very top. It’s not coming from the physicians we interact with during our visits. Doctors listen to the NIH, as would be expected. But the NIH isn’t giving them the whole truth– notice how the NIH only gives physicians a piece of the truth about ivermectin, and a shabby and one-sided piece at that, dressed up with science-speak (“pharmacokinetic and pharmacodynamic”)– and the NIH is decidedly not taking care of the American people by giving them the best possible medical advice during a pandemic. This is not science, this is some bizarre political agenda that can only leave us speculating that maybe it really is all about power and control, after all.

            It’s all there, John. You don’t have to believe a word I say. Look at what the FLCCC group has found, and look at what the NIH says, and you’ll see that what the NIH says makes no sense at all, and it isn’t even close to being science. The burning question is, why not?

            People say that this really is about the Great Reset, get ready. I still believe in truth, and I still believe that we need to speak the truth come hell or high water. It’s the only way forward.

  2. Better yet – find a way to turn this into a class action lawsuit for all businesses who were subjected to reducing business, closing business, losing business, facing fines, etc. Evidence in discovery is key to pushing the State to prove the mandates were necessary – medical tyranny does not stand under the Constitution…it’s worth the fight and the Establishment has pushed this far too long to the detriment of the citizens…push back on them even harder with court cases – make them prove their case – they can’t because the science – real science doesn’t support their mandates at all… jury trial – no bench decisions by crooked judges…

    • Excellent, Melissa. The burden of proof for the effectiveness of all mandates should be on the governor. Multiple studies over 30 years conclude that masking is ineffective in preventing virus transmission. If the governor is going to punish violations of his mandates then he must establish both the necessity and clear efficacy of those measures. He has never cited a peer reviewed study because none exists. His mandates are arbitrary and should be vigorously challenged.

  3. Yet its ok for 10,000 people to come from out of state into our town every weekend?

    How seriously stupid can our governor and attorney general be?

    How can they quarantine for seven days when they are only back home for 5 days?

    How can they close this business and allow ski areas to bring in what, 50,000 new people from out of state? And because they sign a piece of paper everything is ok? One has to register a name when going to the lobby of KFC, but you can just walk into any grocery store?

    Where is the science???.??

    It’s called political science, aka b.s., aka martial law. And both parties of politic clearly support this type of behavior, nobody will even say anything against the sheer stupidity, let alone DO ANYTHING!

  4. Well I guess this exposes where the VTGOP stands.

    Guess this exposes where the governor and state stands.

    Guess those whom love freedom and science are on their own

    Great article, great srticle. Imagine one sign causing so much turmoil, nobody was doing anything different from one week to the next, but that sign will close your business, end your lease and put you in legal jeopardy if not jail?

    So what kind of state do we live in? All this in a state, because we are counting cause of death properly has about the same amount of deaths because of flu from every other year?

    Will anyone stand up for his constitutional rights? Do all our rights as humans go out the window when the governor declares martial law? Guess we are taken over, enjoy your dictatorship.

    There is supposed to be a GoFundMe starting up for them. I spoke with the owner, super nice guy, said something about the AG wanting to get him declared incompetent – this is super fvcking ridiculous! Support these folks!!!

  6. I haven’t worn a mask since day 1 and I refuse to wear one. if the store demands I wear one I tell them to stick their store where the sun doesn’t shine and go somewhere else. Costco is another one that won’t let you in if you aren’t wearing a mask.. hey no problem I told them I am a FREE AMERICAN and they can kiss my A$$ I don’t need their crap. Told Walmart the same thing, told them to make me wear a mask. just try it. they told me to go on in. they don’t even bother me now.. We are being treated like prisoners, even worse. Hitler took control and look what happened to the people. Scotty Watty and D F Donovan think they are above the law.. Got news for them we the REAL Vermonters have had enough and it’s time to TAKE BACK VERMONT.

  7. It’s OK for the Governor and Dr. Levine to make public health recommendations. It’s not OK for them to penalize people for refusing to follow those recommendations.

    It’s not OK for the Governor and Dr. Levine to stand up and say “we have the data” when all they have are cherry-picked pieces of the data that support government heavy-handedness.

    Consider what a study by the CDC in May, 2020, said: “Although mechanistic [i.e., non real-life] studies support the potential effect of hand hygiene or face masks, evidence from 14 randomized controlled trials of these measures did not support a substantial effect on transmission of laboratory-confirmed influenza.” Covid-19 is no difference from influenza in terms of its size or its airborne route of transmission. Note what this paper says: mechanistic studies suggested that masks worked, but actual trials demonstrated they were insignificant. We also have an entire country where the vast majority of the population doesn’t wear masks– Sweden– and the trajectory of Covid-19 there is very similar to that of other western nations. Masks don’t matter that much and it doesn’t even matter if Dr. Fauci gets up there and advises us to wear two masks: it just doesn’t matter. This isn’t “data,” this is the truth.

    There’s no justification for medical tyranny and yet we’re making stuff up to justify that tyranny. This really isn’t so far off from what happened in Nazi Germany when government power over the individual expanded greatly and was 100% justified by a biomedical vision that had “science” behind it. Only it was dead wrong. This “science,” this “data,” seemed to be correct and supported a eugenics program that turned into a horrific tyranny, yet at the time it was widely supported by learned men who then decided that their science must be imposed on others “for the greater good.” Are we beginning to see yet the danger we’re in? The message should be loud and clear: don’t even go there, for there are no clear-cut stop signs once down that road, as we ourselves have witnessed in our “a few weeks to flatten the curve” world.

    It may be an evil if a shop decides to allow customers and staff without masks. But it’s a far, far greater evil when tyranny comes in through the back door of fabricated (or even real) medical necessity, when the whole question of what’s necessary is very much up for grabs. Have we learned nothing from history? What’s our real “greater good”? That the state shuts us down after it goes on a wild-goose chase for data that supports its abuse of power, or that we are free to go about our business and make decisions as we see fit? Why does the state presume that individuals have no understanding or judgment about what’s necessary? Why does that state say that you, the people, can’t have the power to decide what measures you’ll take to stay safe, we’re taking it from you for your own good?

    Tyranny is tyranny. To a tyrant, everything is “necessary.”

    • This site has some good information on studies of face mask efficacy. Bottom line: face masks aren’t supported by the science.

      The mask dictates by the governor are arbitrary and capricious, resting on a selective reading of the science and not backed by empirical evidence that we can observe for ourselves, one year into this.

  8. TJ Donovan is on a power trip. He should know there aren’t enough prisons to hold the people. Someday Donovan will be out of office (along with side kick Scott). Executive Orders are a tool to control people. May the next real conservative Governor do what Biden did, sign 50 EO’s to undo Trump’s EO’s. May the next real governor undo dictator Scott’s. Trump’s EO’s helped the country.

  9. Since the mask mandate went into effect August 1, Vermont’s numbers went from 5-10 new cases per day to more than 200 by year-end. Not only did the mandate not make a dent, but the result was the exact opposite of what we should expect. Mask mandates in other states–and in other countries–show the exact same picture: there’s simply no noticeable correlation between mask use and case numbers. Belief in mask efficacy, regardless of the poorly constructed “science,” is just that–a belief.

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