Protesters in Richmond are calling on Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam (D) to reopen the state, joining a slew of groups calling for an end of stay-at-home orders in the country.
ReOpen Virginia, a conservative group, organized a drive-in protest outside the Virginia Capitol on Wednesday, an hour before the general assembly convened.
“If we don't come together now to get this economy back open and running and healthy, we could very well not have an economy at all when we decide to do it,” David Britt, organizer of the Reopen Virginia rally, told NBC 10.
NOW: Protesters are descending on downtown Richmond demeaning @GovernorVA reopen Virginia’s economy. Some are on foot, others in vehicles. Organizers say they will be back out May 1 to protest as well. @NBC12 pic.twitter.com/GKbZSfP2Gx— Henry Graff (@HenryGraff) April 22, 2020
Northam’s “stay at home” order is in place until June 10, one of the longest orders in place in the country.
A list of talking points posted on the group’s Facebook event told protesters to point to the economic hardships imposed by the shutdown for the “short term” benefits of curving the coronavirus pandemic in the state.
They also argued that other conditions, such as the flu and drug abuse, kill thousands of people in the state each year and are not curved with a shutdown.
The COVID-19, however, is a highly contagious disease, public health experts on the White House coronavirus task force have emphasized. It also appears to be much deadlier than the seasonal flu.
It has killed more than 44,000 people in the country so far.
According to statistics kept by The New York Times, Virginia has nearly 10,000 cases, and has had 325 deaths.
“We have to move past the fear and start working with rationality and with reason and logic and facts and the facts show that it's time. We need to be working to reopen this economy sooner rather than later,” Britt said.
This week the Washington Post and New York Times reported that some of the groups organizing protests against shutdowns are funding by the Convention of States, a group of conservative mega-donors. The group has previously backed Florida Gov. Ron DeSantisRon DeSantisMiami private school orders vaccinated students to stay at home for 30 days as 'precautionary measure' Democratic state Sen. Annette Taddeo announces bid to be Florida's first Latina governor The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Uber - Build Back Better items on chopping block MORE (R), a staunch Trump ally who has pushed for an early end to stay-at-home measures.