A military veteran and local business owner pushed back against existing restrictions during a community meeting last week to help slow the spread of COVID-19 in Shasta County, California.
Identified as Carlos Zapata, the veteran shared his grievances and warned of an impending civil revolt in comments to a group of district authorities. A video of Zapata's remarks surfaced on some social media platforms and Reddit in the days following the Shasta County's public meeting.
"I went to war for this country," Zapata said in the video. "I've been in a fight and I never want to go back, but I'll tell you something. I'll save this country. If it has to be against our own citizens, it will happen."
Zapata suggested that "a million people" think the same way as he does when it comes to complying with ongoing public health measures.
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"I'm pretty shocked by what's going on," he told officials at the meeting. Zapata clearly opposed the county's face mask ordinances, which are in line with a statewide mandate from California Governor Gavin Newsom earlier this summer, and appeared to question the continued corporate regulations. He called Shasta County the "red country" and referred to its high concentration of Republicans by advocating fewer restrictions.
"Right now we're peaceful. And you'd better be glad we're good citizens … but it won't be peaceful much longer," he continued. "This is not a threat … but I am telling you that good citizens will become really concerned and revolutionary citizens very soon."
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Shasta County's reopening policies allowed dozens of operations to resume the changed services as of Monday when they were last updated. Fitness facilities such as the Zapata Gym and Martial Arts Center in Redding were listed under this category under the guidance of the county.
A customer wears a face mask to enter an Urban Outfitters store in Santa Monica, California on July 28 in compliance with health requirements for COVID-19. In Shasta County, Northern California, a military veteran and business owner spoke out strongly against local mask requirements and other ongoing regulations.
ALERIE MACON / AFP via Getty Images
Other industries that are allowed to reopen with adjustments during the pandemic include: restaurants, retailers, schools, personal care facilities, campsites, childcare programs and hotels, and several others.
About 180,000 people live in Shasta County, northwest California near the Oregon border, according to census data. The county's health officials set the area's overall COVID-19 risk to level 2 of four alert levels on Thursday. According to additional statistics, 515 people have tested positive for respiratory syndrome in the county since the pandemic began, resulting in 11 deaths and five current hospitalizations. Health officials recorded a total of 41 virus patients being hospitalized throughout the outbreak.
Newsweek reached out to Shasta County's Board of Supervisors for comments but did not receive a response in time for publication.