In nearly two dozen states across the country, American citizens have protested against coronavirus shutdown measures implemented by the government. These groups, ranging in size from 20 people to thousands of participants, are protesting mandatory closures as the nation nears the end of its second month of social distancing efforts.
What’s the Purpose of the Protests?
Protests in states ranging from Texas to Washington have been organized in response to the quarantine restrictions issued by state governors. Citizens participating in the protests are fighting against the bans on public gatherings that have sent the economy into a downward spiral. Protestors hope their voices will encourage state leaders to reopen businesses and end the COVID-19 shutdown.
Where are Shutdown Protests Happening?
Many state capitals and governor mansions have seen crowds outside over the past few weeks.
In Washington, thousands of protestors gathered outside the Capitol building on April 19 to call on Governor Jay Inslee to end the state’s stay-at-home order. Protestors held signs reading, “End the Shutdown,” “Open Our State,” and “Give Me Liberty or Give Me COVID-19!”
Meanwhile, in California, demonstrations have formed in a few different cities. Hundreds gathered in Huntington Beach on April 17 to fight against the government-imposed lockdown. A few days later, hundreds of other Californians protested in San Clemente in order to “defend constitutional rights.” Others rallied against beach closures in Encinitas.
California Governor Gavin Newsom encouraged protestors to express their free speech while safely social distancing but has not indicated a change in policies based on the protests.
Across the country in Michigan, trucks, and cars protested Governor Gretchen Whitmer’s aggressive stay-at-home orders on April 15. Upset by job losses and economic hardships, the crowds protested government actions and held signs reading “Recall Whitmer Now!”
Meanwhile, in Pennsylvania, an anti-quarantine rally drew a crowd of 2,000 people at the state Capitol in Harrisburg. Signs reading “Freedom is essential”, “Church is essential,” “Work not welfare” and “Rednecks 2 reopen PA,” urged Governor Tom Wolf to end the shutdown of non-essential businesses.
Smaller groups gathered in Virginia, Alabama, and New York to demand that their states reopen. Other states with demonstrations included Florida, North Carolina, Missouri, New Mexico, Arizona, Colorado, Tennessee, Illinois, Montana, Wisconsin, Nevada, Idaho, Minnesota, Oklahoma, Utah, Oregon, South Carolina, and Ohio.
One protestor explained her reasoning: “We have never cowered to a virus in this country before- ever. I don’t know why we are now.”
Healthcare Workers Protest the Protests
In response to these nationwide protests, many healthcare and frontline workers have donned scrubs and protested the coronavirus shutdown protestors. Pictures have emerged from Phoenix to Denver of nurses and doctors facing off against anti-lockdown protesters.
One ICU nurse, Lauren Leander, explained her stance: “Our main message was that we wanted healthcare workers’ voices to be heard louder than misinformation and fear. There will be a calm and controlled manner to reopen our economy and our state… you don’t have to open the flood gates and release everyone at once.”