Five protests have been scheduled for May 1st to show Californian opposition to the COVID-19 coronavirus statewide lockdown and localized stay-at-home guidelines.
5 May 1st protests across the state
According to the Fully Reopen CA Now Movement, protests are to occur in Los Angeles, Huntington Beach, San Diego, Ventura, and Sacramento. The protests, much like the ones seen during last weekend, have called for looser restrictions for businesses and citizens alike.
“We are losing our small businesses which are the backbone of our economy,” noted #FULLYOPENCA protest website wehaverights.com. “The shutdown is not warranted, nor sustainable for our area.”
“We are creating unification and steps for people to take action toward getting Gavin Newsom to fully reopen California and restore rights that have been suspended BY NO LATER THAN May 1, 2020.”
Protesters have shared the sentiment as most attending have noted financial hardships.
“Where I worked, we depended on people coming in,” noted Brian, a recently laid-off tour bus driver in Los Angeles who attended protests last weekend. “There’s millions more like me. We need people, we need customers, we need tourists. But the state is refusing to budge, and so is the city. We need to reopen now to save these jobs and to save all of these people from going into ruin.”
State and local governments warn against reopening too soon
Most state governments and health officials have advised against a hasty reopening out of fear for a relapse, resulting in more people being infected, a longer lockdown time, and more deaths.
According to Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation at the University of Washington models, no state should reopen before May 1st, and even then it depends on the area. However, their early coronavirus models were found to be wildly inaccurate.
While Montana is currently the earliest state that can reopen safely in early May, the earliest California could reopen safely without such a large recurrence of cases from happening would be between May 18th and May 24th.
Governor Newsom, who has been following similar numbers in California, has not given a date for reopening as of this week. Local leaders also stressed that the current in-place measures were to save lives.
“This crisis is causing extraordinary pain in people’s lives,” said Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti in a statement about the rallies. “I understand the frustration and share the desire to get the economy moving again and return to our way of life. But saving lives has to be our number-one priority above all else. And we’ll keep making decisions based on the science and guidance from public health experts.”
Americans in general have also favored lawmakers responses in not reopening early. A Politico poll last week found that 81 percent of respondents wanted the country to “continue to social distance for as long as is needed to curb the spread of coronavirus, even if it means continued damage to the economy.”
Continued protests in California for reopening
Protests last weekend in California grew large enough to warrant national and international attention and put into question the accuracy of some of the polls. Protests in Sacramento had so many people turn up that it was reported social distancing rules were broken, and resulted in the California Highway Patrol to not allow any more permits for gatherings on state property.
In San Diego, Naomi Israel, the main organizer of the protests there, was arrested for violating San Diego County health codes by not practicing social distancing. Hundreds of people protested outside the Hall of Justice in San Diego last weekend. She now faces possible jail time.
Protests on May 1st may be different. Some have noted that the protest at the State Capitol will be a car caravan rally, with protesters showing up in cars to avoid any accusations of not following safe social distancing practices that many news outlets chastised them for last week. A reopening date may also be known by then, which may lead to change of protest tactics.
But many remain optimistic for May 1st.
“A few news places tried to interview me on the spot,” explained Brian. “But some questions weren’t about coronavirus or what we wanted. They were just surprised that this many Republicans and Conservatives were in the state. They didn’t believe this many people really wanted the state to open.”
“Well, a lot of people are hurting, and there’s a growing number of us here. We have a right to protest and tell people about how badly we need our economy to reopen and get people back to work.”
“They are trying to paint us as ignoring the coronavirus and everything, but we aren’t. We keep informed on it. Many of us know people who contracted it.”
“It’s just become so economically dire right now that reopening is our best course of action to survive as a nation.”