Thursday, April 16, 2020

Ohio protest against state-ordered shutdowns

Coronavirus In Ohio: Protesters Gather Outside Statehouse To Criticize Shutdowns |WOSU 89.7 NPR News - Gabe Rosenberg:

April 9, 2020 - "Around 75 protesters gathered outside of the Ohio Statehouse on Thursday to criticize the government's restrictions during the coronavirus outbreak. Many wore Guy Fawkes masks over their faces, and at least one held a gun. Their signs criticized the governor's stay-at-home order, closure of schools and shutdown of the economy: 'My constitutional rights are essential,' 'Ohio dies when government lies,' 'Quarantine the sick not the Constitution,' 'A free people in a pandemic are still a free people.'

"Ohio Department of Health Director Amy Acton acknowledged the chanting that often could be heard during Thursday's press conference. 'There are people protesting right now outside the Statehouse. And people are worried. They're afraid. They're afraid about things like their jobs,' she said. Earlier in the day, the Ohio Department of Jobs and Family Services reported that 695,519 residents had submitted jobless claims over the past three weeks.

"[Governor] DeWine said the protesters had every right to be there, although he urged them to 'try not to shout on each other.' The state's ban on mass gatherings includes allowances for expressing First Amendment rights.... [H]e said .. 'I can guarantee to you that we're not going to keep these orders on one day longer than we have to.'

"The Ohio Department of Health on Thursday reported 5,512 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in 84 counties, based on limited testing availability. As of Thursday, 213 people have died.... Even the most optimistic projections, DeWine cautions, show that social distancing must continue at the same level for the near future to avoid burdening the health care system....

"Acton said the state will start releasing data indicators that are being used to figure out when business and other restrictions can be lifted. DeWine said he expects next week to share longer-term plans for Ohio's response."

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