HARRISBURG (CBS) – The economic strain of Pennsylvania’s statewide shutdown of non-essential businesses is driving people to protest outside the capitol in Harrisburg on Monday. Demonstrators flooded the outside of the capitol building, some holding signs, waving flags, and demanding the economy re-open.
The rally came on the same day that Gov. Tom Wolf extended Pennsylvania’s stay-at-home orders through at least May 8.
The protesters gathered closely together outside the building, many ignoring social distancing guidelines and some not wearing masks.
— Matt Petrillo (@MattPetrillo) April 20, 2020
Others are demonstrating from inside their cars, like Donna Merritt of Exeter Township, Berks County.
“I just got done decorating my automobile so we can partake in the caravan here in Harrisburg,” Merritt said. “Letting our legislators and our governor know we’re ready to get back to work.”
Merritt brought her daughter with her to the caravan. When asked if she was concerned about her daughter getting the coronavirus, she replied, “No, I’m a smart mom. Like I said, I’m an adult in the room.”
When asked if she was concerned with social distancing and the possible spread of the coronavirus, Merrit said, “We’re all adults here. We’ve been doing it in the grocery store. We can do it at a rally too. I think we’re all being very careful and good at it.”
The debate over re-opening Pennsylvania is getting sharply political. Democrats like U.S. Congressman Brendan Boyle, of Philadelphia, urge people to use common sense.
“If you have just one infected person and they’re in close proximity to a couple hundred others, now suddenly we spread coronavirus pretty exponentially by that one person being in a large group. So these protests are dumb. They achieve nothing and in fact, they make it dangerous, they make it more likely that coronavirus is spread throughout society,” Boyle said.
Last week, Gov. Wolf said Republicans’ attempt to reopen businesses was irresponsible.