PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) ─ As Gov. Dan McKee announced a statewide face mask mandate for the upcoming school year Thursday, demonstrators gathered outside State House to protest a previously issued vaccine requirement for certain Rhode Islanders.

Last week, McKee announced that in an effort to protect vulnerable populations, all employees of state-licensed health care facilities and providers are required to get fully vaccinated by Oct. 1.

Nearly 100 people attended the “Freedom of Choice Rally” to protest the requirement.

Organizers tell 12 News they’re frustrated that they must choose between getting immunized and losing their jobs.

“You have a 98% chance of surviving COVID. If I had a 98% chance of winning at the casino, I wouldn’t be here right now. I’d be at the casino,” Demonstrator Tanya Signore said.

Matt Sheaff, a spokesperson for McKee, responded to the rally on Twitter:

“Just as our health care workers have done since the start of the pandemic, Gov. Dan McKee is putting public health first,” he wrote. “A vaccine mandate for health care workers will make us all safer.”