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San Benito County library closes following maskless protest

SAN BENITO COUNTY, Calif. (KION) San Benito County officials say the San Benito County Free Library has temporarily closed following a protest at the facility.

On Friday morning, the county said a group of unmasked protesters entered the library and were asked to put on face coverings, but they reportedly refused to put them on or leave.

After that, the county decided to temporarily close the library. A tentative reopening date is set for Wednesday, but officials said it will continue to provide services over the phone or online.

The county is now reminding residents that California State Law requires unvaccinated people aged 2 and older to wear a mask or face shield while inside the library. Anyone who does not comply will be asked to leave, and staff have the right to ask someone to leave, according to the county.

“Not everyone can be vaccinated, either because of age or personal health.  As a result, the County requests that all library patrons wear a mask unless they are fully vaccinated.  Although some individuals may be exempt from the State mask requirement, the County has established a more restrictive local rule to protect our residents' public health.  If an unvaccinated individual is not able to wear a mask because of health conditions, religious beliefs, or otherwise personal choice, that individual may not enter the library.  However, the Library continually works to provide library services to all individuals not able to enter the library, including but not limited to, curbside, telephone, and online services," county officials wrote in a statement.

The library also has a behavior policy saying that any behavior that "endangers the safety or health of others" will not be tolerated.

Avery Johnson

Avery Johnson is the Digital Content Director at KION News Channel 5/46.

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