Michigan, Ohio, Kentucky, Minnesota, North Carolina and Utah – states ruled by Republican and Democratic governors – have all seen protests in recent days as people worried more about the fallout economic impact of the coronavirus pandemic.
“A small segment of the state protests and it is their right,” Michigan governor Gretchen Whitmer, a Democrat, told CNN. People “go crazy” at home, she said, and are afraid to pay the bills.
“The sad part is, however, that the longer they are out, the more likely they are to spread Covid-19,” said Whitmer, “and the more likely we will have to adopt this posture for a longer period of time.” “
Protesters in Whitmer State took to the streets of the capital on Wednesday in their cars. The action, dubbed “Operation Gridlock” by its organizers, smothered Lansing with traffic for miles.
“I realize how important this virus is, but now we come to the point where we shut down too much,” said protester Tom Hughey, who has a small business and works for Ford Motor Company, a subsidiary of CNN. WILX.
Whitmer extended the state home care order until April 30. It includes restrictions such as prohibiting most people from traveling between residences unless they are caring for a parent or dropping off a child.
But not everyone was in their car, according to WILX – some were standing on the grounds of the State Capitol.
“I think everyone here will probably get a coronavirus, we’re all within six feet of each other,” Nick Somber told WILX.
The Michigan Nurses Association released a statement calling the protest “irresponsible” and saying that it “sends exactly the opposite message that nurses and health care professionals are trying to get across: we beg people, stay home” .
Some protesters gathered on Thursday outside the governor’s mansion in St. Paul to voice their opposition to the residence order of Democratic Governor Tim Walz, which has been extended until May 3.
A protest spokesman told CNN affiliate WCCO that they were protesting because Minnesotans are suffering from financial setbacks and depression, among other problems.
The group believed residents could return to work while continuing to fight the coronavirus, WCCO reported.
“The governor has said that we cannot lose our democracy during this pandemic, and that extends to those exercising their rights to the first amendment,” Walz’s office said in a statement. “We demand that for the health and safety of themselves, their families and their fellow Minnesota workers, those who demonstrate demonstrate good social distancing behavior. “
Walz previously stressed that it would be important to expand testing and tracing before the state can reopen, saying the two should be done “on a large scale”.
Protesters demonstrated in the capital of Kentucky, Frankfort, where Governor Andy Beshear, a Democrat, was to speak about the noise during a press briefing on Wednesday.
“We have people here in Kentucky today, saying we should reopen Kentucky immediately, right now,” said Beshear. “People would kill people. It would absolutely kill people. “
A protester told CNN WKYT affiliate that she initially agreed with Beshear’s measures, but has since changed her mind.
“I understand the need for caution,” she said, “but I think it all went well, you know, all that is reasonable.” “
Protesters first took into account social distancing, spacing out on the capital’s land, according to WKYT. But it came out the window when they started singing right outside the room where Beshear was holding his press conference.
“Lots of fresh air here. I don’t think I am putting anyone in danger, “said the woman at the station. “I think the governor is putting many people at risk by not letting families work.”
A group protested in Washington County, where it declared the restrictions imposed by Republican Governor Gary Herbert unconstitutional, CNN affiliate KSL reported on Wednesday.
“The government, at all levels, has exceeded its authority in its request to” protect “the Americans from a virus,” said Mary Burkett, a Republican candidate for the 2nd congressional district of Utah, who said participated in the demonstration.
“The American citizen is perfectly capable of deciding the best way to protect himself,” she added.
According to KSL, the protesters were asked to follow social distancing guidelines and were asked to demonstrate as individuals or families rather than in groups.
The protest, which came from a Facebook group called Utah Walk For Freedom, was said to demand the lifting of national and local restrictions “with appropriate precautions,” the group’s Facebook page said.
Herbert extended the state’s “Stay Safe, Stay Home” directive until May 1, saying it works.
“We cannot abandon these measures,” Herbert said in a press release last week, adding that slowing the spread of the virus will allow residents to “return to work and return to normal levels more quickly.”
A group of protesters gathered in Raleigh on Tuesday – a protest that was in direct violation of Democratic Governor Roy Cooper’s decree, according to the Raleigh police department.
“We have divine rights that are being violated right now, as we speak, every day that state remains closed,” said Ashley Smith, organizer and business owner, to CNN WRAL affiliate.
Cooper said on Wednesday that the state needed to make progress in testing and tracking contacts in order to lift the restrictions. He did not say whether he would extend his current restrictions, which prohibit gatherings of 10 or more people. The order will expire April 29.
One participant, David Engstrom, told WRAL that “the economic disaster that is going to happen … is going to be worse than all of the Covid-19 problems we have encountered.”
At least one person was arrested by state police, Raleigh Police Service said on Twitter.
In a statement, the department cited the importance of “the health and well-being of everyone who lives in our community, including officers who have to engage in circumstances like these. We just want everyone to be safe during this very serious public health crisis. “
Protesters also gathered in Columbus outside the state house, where they were heard during Governor Mike DeWine’s briefing on Monday, CNN affiliate WSYX reported.
Protesters carried signs and megaphone, chanting “Reopen Ohio,” WSYX reported.
DeWine, a Republican, acknowledged frustration from critics on Twitter Tuesday, saying, “I understand. But it will do no good to businesses and employees if we are wrong. If we are wrong, we will have a medical mess and a mess in the economy. The best thing we can do is get it right. “
DeWine’s home order is expected to remain in effect until May 1 and includes the limitation on the number of customers authorized in stores considered essential businesses.
There are more than 7,700 cases of coronavirus in the state and at least 362 people have died.