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Demonstrators march in protest of Gov. Cooper’s COVID-19 stay-at-home order

Updated: Apr. 21, 2020 at 1:29 PM EDT
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RALEIGH, N.C. (WNCN) – Protesters showed up in downtown Raleigh for the second Tuesday in a row calling for Gov. Roy Cooper to cancel North Carolina’s stay-at-home order instituted amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

There was a much a larger crowd this Tuesday than last Tuesday and just before noon they started marching around the North Carolina Executive Mansion.

People from across the state showed up downtown, some of them urging Cooper drop the order immediately and begin to “reopen” the state’s economy.

Protesters said they’re concerned about the long-term economic impact of the shutdown, including some business owners worried about how to get going again.

Reopening this fast would go against the advice of medical experts who have said it will undo the progress that’s been made so far in slowing the spread of the virus.

The protest comes the day after the state’s deadliest day of the pandemic. North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services statistics show 34 people died from COVID-19 on Monday. Cases continue to climb daily.

NC COVID-19-Related Deaths
NC COVID-19-Related Deaths(CBS 17 | CBS 17)

Polling in North Carolina shows that most people think the state’s actions have been about right so far. Polling also shows that most people are concerned about reopening too fast as well.

CBS 17 reporter Michael Hyland spoke with some protesters, as well as Dr. Doyle Graham, the former dean of medical education at Duke University.

You’re taking freedom away. You’re taking the livelihood of your state away. There’s a lot of people hurting desperately,” said protester Tina Guyotte, of Raleigh.

“It’s a very dangerous thing to do to open up and reverse our strides in social distancing, which have allowed the rate of increase to go down,” said Graham.

The protest on Tuesday occurred as some nearby states have announced plans to start reopening. South Carolina, Tennessee, and Georgia have all announced reopening plans. South Carolina has already allowed retail stores to reopen.

Cooper said the stay-at-home order is not sustainable in the long-term, but necessary in the short-term.

Cooper said we still don’t have enough testing supplies for COVID-19 and need to improve on the ability to track people who have been exposed to the virus.

The governor has previously laid out the steps that need to be taken before pandemic-related restrictions can be eased.

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