Michigan, Ohio, Kentucky, Minnesota, North Carolina and Utah — states led by both Republican and Democratic governors — have all seen protests in recent days as people grow more concerned about the economic fallout of the coronavirus pandemic.
“The sad part is, though, that the more they’re out and about, the more likely they are to spread Covid-19,” Whitmer said, “and the more likely we’re going to have to take this posture for a longer period of time.”
But not everyone stayed in their cars, per WILX — some stood on the grounds of the state Capitol.
“I think every single person here is probably going to get coronavirus, we’re all within six feet of each other,” Nick Somber told WILX.
Some protesters met Thursday outside the governor’s mansion in St. Paul to voice opposition to Democratic Gov. Tim Walz’s stay-home order, which has been extended through May 3.
The group believed residents can go back to work while continuing to fight the coronavirus, WCCO reported.
“The Governor has said that we can’t lose our democracy during this pandemic, and this extends to people exercising their First Amendment rights,” Walz’s office said in a statement. “We ask that for the health and safety of themselves, their families, and their fellow Minnesotans that those demonstrating exercise good social distancing behavior.”
Walz previously emphasized that expanding testing and tracing would be important before the state can reopen, saying both had to be done “on a massive scale.”
Protesters demonstrated in the Kentucky capital of Frankfort, where Gov. Andy Beshear, a Democrat, had to speak over the noise during a news briefing Wednesday.
“We do have some folks up here in Kentucky today, saying we should reopen Kentucky immediately, right now,” Beshear said. “Folks, that would kill people. It would absolutely kill people.”
“I understand the need for caution,” she said, “but I think it’s gone way past, you know, anything reasonable.”
Protesters initially heeded social distancing, spacing out on the capitol grounds, according to WKYT. But that went out the window when they began chanting just outside the room where Beshear was holding his news briefing.
“Lot of fresh air out here. I don’t think I’m endangering anyone,” the woman told the station. “I think the governor is endangering a lot of people by not letting families work.”
“The American citizen is perfectly capable of deciding how to best protect themselves,” she added.
According to KSL, protesters were asked to follow social distancing guidelines and were directed to demonstrate as individuals or families instead of in a large group.
The demonstration, which stemmed from a Facebook group called Utah Walk For Freedom, was meant to demand state and local restrictions be lifted “with appropriate precautions,” the group’s Facebook page said.
Herbert has extended the state’s “Stay Safe, Stay Home” directive through May 1, saying it is working.
A group of protesters gathered in Raleigh on Tuesday — a demonstration that was in direct violation of Democratic Gov. Roy Cooper’s executive order, according to the Raleigh Police Department.
Cooper said Wednesday the state needs to progress in testing and contact tracing in order to lift restrictions. He did not say whether he would extend his current restrictions, which prohibit gatherings of 10 or more people. The order is set to expire on April 29.
One participant, David Engstrom, told WRAL that “the economic disaster that’s going to happen … is going to be worse than any Covid-19 problems that we’ve had.”
In a statement, the department cited the importance of the “health and wellness of all who live in our community, including the officers who must engage in circumstances such as these. We simply want everyone to be safe during this very serious public health crisis.”
Demonstrators carried signs and bullhorns, chanting, “Reopen Ohio,” WSYX reported.
DeWine’s stay-at-home order is set to remain in place until May 1, and includes limiting the number of customers allowed inside stores deemed essential businesses.
There are more than 7,700 cases of coronavirus in the state, and at least 362 people have died.
CNN’s Theresa Waldrop, Amara Walker and Jeff Zeleny contributed to this report.