SALISBURY, Md. – On Saturday, crowds of people some with masks and very few social distancing urged Governor Larry Hogan to ease social distancing restrictions and allow businesses to reopen.
The group Reopen Maryland drove across the state from Frederick to Salisbury with many joining along the way as part of their road rally. Protestors say they believe all businesses are essential and that residents should be playing a bigger role in the governor’s mandates. “So, we’re asking for transparency in the models that he uses, we want to know the data and the decisions that he’s using and other things that he didn’t consider,” said Tim Walters, the chairman of Reopen Maryland.
Republican Congressman Andy Harris spoke in support at the rally saying the restrictions in Maryland are too stringent and need to be relaxed.
“I didn’t wake up in Communist China and I didn’t wake up in North Korea this morning and tomorrow morning, I should be able to go to the church of my choice and worship the way I choose,” said Harris. Business owners tell 47ABC they’re ready to safely reopen after their businesses got significantly hit by the pandemic. “I’m always sanitizing and I’m always washing everything else all around,” said Stewart Davis, owner at Flannery’s Bayou & BBQ. “I think it’s safe to reopen as long as we use our brains and do what we need to do as a community. If it takes us elbow bumping instead of shaking hands, I can do that,” said Davis.
But other locals we spoke to say these kinds of protests are putting people’s lives at risk. “It doesn’t make much sense,” said Jared Schablein, chair at the Lower Shore Progressive Caucus. “If your goal is to open up as soon as possible, which I think is everyone’s goal you would want to contain the disease, you would want to social distance and you would not want to go into a hotspot,” said Schablein. On social media, many people opposed the rally telling 47ABC that these protests should be done virtually and that these gatherings aren’t welcomed on the shore.
Other people suggested that these protestors should start a petition instead while staying home and help stop the spread of the virus.