The Christmas parade begins at 5 p.m. and will follow a route on Main Street from the Post office to Aspen Street.  Photo: Nick Sulzer // Buckrail

VICTOR, Idaho. — Victor Mayor Will Frohlich issued a statement following an anti-mask protest in his neighborhood on Friday, Sept. 3.

A group of protestors marched from downtown Victor into the Mountain Shadows subdivision to protest in front of the Mayor’s residence.

According to the press release issued by the City of Victor, “the protest was peaceful, the group was very loud and carried signs displaying a masked sheep and flags with a Swastika covered by a mask. Even though the Mayor and his family were not at home at the time of the protest, many neighbors were and had to endure the protest. Several neighbors asked the protestors to leave the area and were verbally accosted or even disparaged by the protestors in front of their children.”

The mayor issued a statement following the demonstration, condemning the display in a private neighborhood.

“I fully support an individual’s Constitutional right to a peaceful protest, but when it is done in front of someone’s home in a residential neighborhood, it crosses a major line. It accomplishes nothing, and the attempt to intimidate will carry zero weight on any decision being made now or in the future,” Frohlich said.

“Protesting to rescind a mask mandate that is in place to protect our community and, most importantly, our children’s safety while waving flags (of which I will not describe), wearing paper bags over your heads, and insulting other residents who have nothing to do with the issue being protested is sad,” Frohlich said.

Frohlich issued a mask mandate for the City of Victor on Aug. 27, effective Aug. 30. The mandate includes offices, retail stores, restaurants and bars, government offices and schools.

“I encourage anyone who wishes to protest peacefully to do it in designated public locations, not in a residential neighborhood which ultimately impacts the peace and tranquility of our fellow neighbors who are not even involved in the issue the protestors are upset about,” Frohlich said in the statement.

He said he and his staff have responded to all emails and phone calls from community members about the mask mandate.

The statement went on to describe the dire situation hospitals in Idaho are facing due to an uptick in COVID-19 hospitalization. Yesterday Sept. 8, 14 hospitals in Idaho issued a joint statement urging people to get vaccinated.

State public health officials have activates “crisis standards of care.” Hospitals can now allocate scarce resources like intensive care unit rooms to patients most likely to survive and make other dramatic changes to the way they treat patients. Other patients will still receive care, but they may be placed in hospital classrooms or conference rooms rather than traditional hospital rooms or go without some life-saving medical equipment.

Frohlich urged Idohians to get vaccinated and stood behind his decision to implement a mask mandate.

“We are currently facing more pressure on our healthcare system than at any previous time since this global pandemic started, mainly due to unvaccinated COVID-positive patients. This is bringing us closer and closer to Crisis Standard of Care here in Teton County,” Frohlich said.

Frohlich said, “We have and will continue to make tough decisions when it comes to protecting the Health and Safety of this community from COVID. We will make those informed decisions by continuing to listen to experts who follow the facts provided by the science that supports them.”

Frohlich emphasized the importance of community. “Whether you are a business owner, a community member, an elected official, or a visitor, we need to be unified. We need to bring back a sense of community, look out for our children and our elderly. When did we as Americans lose this reality?

“Spend your time doing good. Take the high road. Listen to the experts and the facts that they provide. If you think you can do better, then get involved. If you think there is a problem with something, instead of just speaking against it, provide a solution,” Frohlich said.

Lindsay Vallen is a Community News Reporter covering a little bit of everything; with an interest in politics, wildlife, and amplifying community voices. Originally from the east coast, Lindsay has called Wilson, Wyoming home since 2017. In her free time, she enjoys snowboarding, hiking, cooking, and completing the Jackson Hole Daily crosswords.