A few dozen anti-mask protesters gathered at the corner of Route 14 and Main Street in Crystal Lake on Saturday. | Photo via McHenry County Blog.

A few dozen demonstrators gathered in Crystal Lake on Saturday to protest Illinois’ mask mandate for students, with one protester’s sign reading “stop putting muzzles on our kids.”

The protest occurred Saturday afternoon on the corner of Route 14 and Main Street in Crystal Lake.

“Free their faces, hearts and minds! They are our future! What are we teaching them?! Masks are child abuse!” one man’s sign said.

Some of the protesters took issue with Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker, saying “this mask is as useless as our governor” and another sign saying “fire Pritzker.”

A few dozen anti-mask protesters gathered at the corner of Route 14 and Main Street in Crystal Lake on Saturday. | Photo via McHenry County Blog.

Multiple signs made references to “unmask our kids.” A couple of counter-protesters, wearing shirts that said “masks save lives,” showed up at the demonstration.

The counter-protesters held signs that said “We’re cool with wearing masks” and “Real facts! Real dr.s! Real science.”

McHenry County, along with nearly every other county in Illinois, has been marked as having “high” transmission of COVID-19 by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

In late July, the CDC recommended that all people, regardless of vaccination status, should wear masks indoors in counties that have “substantial” or “high” transmission of COVID-19.

Pro-mask demonstrators gathered at the corner of Route 14 and Main Street in Crystal Lake on Saturday. | Photo via McHenry County Blog.

Areas of “substantial” transmission are considered by CDC to be those with 50 to 99 cases per 100,000 people over a seven-day period.

Areas of “high” transmission are considered to be those with more than 100 cases per 100,000 people over a seven-day period.

The CDC also recommended universal indoor masking for all teachers, staff, students and visitors at K-12 schools across the United States regardless of vaccination status.

Illinois adopted the CDC’s recommendation and then Gov. Pritzker on August 4 mandated masks in all PreK-12 schools in the state.

Pritzker said the mandate was due to “a number of school districts not yet adopting CDC guidance” and due to the state’s increase in COVID-19 cases.