As President Trump pushes for the economy to return to normal sooner rather than later, concerns are growing that we may be moving to reopen far too quickly. Yet there is another group that takes the opposite stance, insisting that the rules placed on businesses and our daily lives be lifted right away.
On Sunday, there were protests in at least five states, with people participating in protests on state capitols and in gridlock demonstrations.
A gathering in Olympia, Washington called, “Hazardous Liberty! Defend the Constitution!” saw people gathered to demand Governor Jay Inslee rescind his state’s stay at home order even as the number of confirmed COVD-19 cases there climbs towards 12,000.
In Illinois, where there are already more than 30,000 confirmed cases, protestors headed to the Lincoln Statue in Springfield to call for their state to be reopened. A similar gridlock demonstration took place in Denver, with cars descending on the capitol and protestors on lawns with signs bearing slogans like, “Dangerous freedom over gov’t tyranny.”
In Huntington Beach, California, more than 200 protestors showed up for a March for Freedom event bearing signs saying, “Quarantine the sick, not the healthy” and even proclaiming the virus is a “lie.”
Thousands of protestors also took to the streets in Lansing, Michigan recently, saying that the restrictions that were put in place to stop the virus from spreading are causing irreparable harm to small businesses.
Protestors have also gathered in Raleigh, North Carolina, to oppose stay-at-home rules there, with at least one protestor being arrested. And dozens of people shouted as Kentucky Governor Andy Beshear held a news conference at a Capitol building in Frankfort.
Rallies have also been held recently in places like New York and Ohio, in some cases with armed demonstrators.
Meanwhile, President Trump has been fanning the flames, saying that some governors are being “unreasonable” with their orders to stay at home.
Governor Inslee told ABC’s This Week that the president’s stance is only encouraging bad behavior. “To have an American president encourage people violate the law, I can’t remember any time in my time in America we have seen such a thing,” he said.
“It’s dangerous because it could inspire people to ignore things that could save their lives.”
So far, the U.S. has seen more than 700,000 confirmed coronavirus cases overall and at least 37,000 deaths.
On Friday, beaches and parks were reopened in Jacksonville, Florida, after getting approval from Governor Ron DeSantis even as the state hit a record number of coronavirus cases. When the beaches opened at 5 in the evening, the crowds were alarming.
The beaches were opened for “essential activities” and recreational activities that are consistent with guidelines for social distancing. This includes caring for pets, walking, fishing and biking; sunbathing and gathering in big groups is not allowed.
Unfortunately, photos quickly emerged of people crowding the beaches, with hundreds of them walking and talking in large groups, often without face masks. Twitter was abuzz with outraged observers calling out Floridians for their careless behavior, and the hashtag #FloridaMorons trended across the nation. So far, the state already has 25,000 confirmed cases.
An MIT model recently predicted that we could see an “exponential explosion” in new coronavirus cases should the country’s lockdown measures be relaxed too soon. While we’d all like to see normal life resume soon, extreme caution is needed or we could end up in an even worse situation than we’re already experiencing.
Sources for this article include: