Groups organize ‘Reopen Virginia’ protest over extended lockdown restrictions


RICHMOND, Va. (WFXR) — Several Virginia groups are expected to join the growing list of social distancing protesters across the country Thursday as they gather in Richmond to peacefully protest Gov. Ralph Northam’s extended stay-at-home order.

Groups known as ReOpen Virginia, End The Lockdown VA, and Virginians Against Excessive Quarantine are the organizers behind the “Reopen Virginia” protest on Thursday, according to a statement issued by the organizations on Wednesday, April 15.

All three groups formed in the last week; already have more than 10,000 members; and expect “thousands of concerned citizens” to attend the protest calling for restrictions to be lifted by the end of April, the release states.

In the words of the Reopen Virginia statement, “Government mandating sick people to stay home is called quarantine. However, the government mandating healthy citizens to stay home, forcing businesses and churches to close is called tyranny.”

The organizations say enforcing these stay-at-home restrictions beyond May 1 — which would mark almost seven weeks of lockdown — would result in irreversible economic and social consequences. In order to defend their position, the groups cite an increase in opiod deaths connected to an increase in unemployment, as well as a rise in child abuse and domestic violence.

“Business owners are being forced to layoff employees while the unemployment system is failing those laid off as the economy free falls. This is a recipe for disaster with many in our society helpless. We cannot stand by and watch our neighbors suffer while the government considers prolonging these painful conditions,” the Reopen Virginia release says. “The economy should be reopened on 5/1 for healthy citizens continuing enhanced sanitation habits to prevent any virus from spreading. Those with compromised immune systems should not have to re-enter the economy or workforce if they do not feel comfortable.”

According to the release, the Reopen Virginia protesters planned to gather at 11:30 a.m. on Thursday in Virginia’s Capitol Square.

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