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Downtown Orlando rally calls for reopening Florida
WFTV-9 ^ | April 17, 2020 | Adam Poulisse

Posted on 04/18/2020 12:01:01 AM PDT by abb

ORLANDO, Fla. — More than 100 people gathered in downtown Orlando holding signs and chanting a call to reopen the state during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The rally took place directly outside the Orange County Administration Building as officials inside provided updates on the COVID-19 pandemic as it relates to Central Florida.

The group Reopen Florida, created by resident Tara Hill, helped organize the rally to send the message to Gov. Ron DeSantis.

Hill said she would like to see the state “completely open by May 1st with absolutely no restrictions on the movement of Floridians. We are free people.”

“A mass rally shows the governor that,” she told Eyewitness News. “Many people want this, many Floridians -- it’s not just a small fringe group. Many Floridians - I’m seeing young people, older people, I saw a pregnant woman over there.”

The rally started with about 60 people but eventually doubled in size outside the Orange County Administration Building. The crowd chanted things like “Today!” and “Open up the state!" Their signs read for calls to action such as “Stop the madness, save lives.”

One sign accused Dr. Anthony Fauci of lying about the pandemic.

When asked about if she’s worried about asymptomatic people, Hill said, "I’m not too concerned about that because I trust the people of Florida to make their own healthcare and risk decisions. "

“If they would like to wear a masks, if they would like to practice social distancing, that is completely up to them and we completely honor them,” Hill said. “We just don’t think it should be mandated. And we don’t think the economy should tumble into a mess to try to keep people safe.”

Orlando police said the protesters did not file for a special permit required for a gathering of more than 100.

The crowd did not appear to be abiding by social distancing guidelines and staying 6 feet apart.

When asked about the protest during a news conference Friday, Orange County Mayor Jerry Demings said, “It’s much of a circus.”

“Perhaps one person has the right to risk their own health and safety, but they don’t have the right to risk the health and safety of others," Demings said.

He said that he saw protesters were “taking it lightly” and not wearing masks nor practicing social distancing.

“I think that’s a tragedy, particularly since we know 21 people died from the virus,” Demings said. “I wouldn’t want to play Russian roulette with myself like that. It’s not fun and games. This is serious stuff we’re dealing with in this community. I would suggest to them to take it seriously."

Orlando Mayor Buddy Dyer also chimed in, saying, “There are some people that don’t accept science or facts, and I suspect that’s a bunch of them that’s out front. What I’d probably do is suggest that they have an opportunity to speak with family members of somebody who has died from COVID-19. Maybe that would wake them up a little bit.”

Orange County Sheriff John Mina said the social distancing order has not been enforced due to the first amendment and right to protest.

Orange County leaders were asked what they would say to the people gathered in downtown Orlando Friday to protest the stay-at-home orders during the coronavirus pandemic.

At the end of the rally, the group gathered tightly for a group photo.

“The sad part could be that, next week, I could be announcing there are cases related to that event,” Orange County Health Officer Dr. Raul Pino said.

President Donald Trump has outlined a plan to reopen the country over several steps. You can read it here.

Similar rallies took place across the country.

TOPICS: Activism/Chapters; Government; News/Current Events; US: Florida
KEYWORDS: florida; orlando; protest; reopen
More protests.
1 posted on 04/18/2020 12:01:01 AM PDT by abb
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To: abb

gonna be a long time before folks are scheduling Disney vacations en masse. Maybe some risk takers will get some real good deals.

2 posted on 04/18/2020 12:19:45 AM PDT by jz638
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To: abb

Florida just cannot get its UI benefits out to the people, stimulus checks are delayed...only good thing going is the weather has been good. Disney may not fully rehire this year and so can be said about other theme parks.
Nascar may not allow spectator events, probably very few foreign tourists coming in and the cruise ships....zilch

Worst part is the recently released felons. Big, big mistake. Should be a federal law about that in the future.

3 posted on 04/18/2020 12:43:02 AM PDT by Daniel Ramsey (Thank YOU President Trump, finally we can do what America does best, to be the best)
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To: abb

I was there and demings and dyer are utter losers. Running the county and city right into the ground. It was a great rally

4 posted on 04/18/2020 4:16:34 AM PDT by spacejunkie2001
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To: spacejunkie2001

Good for you!! I’m glad to see a fellow FReeper carrying on the great traditions of our group!!

5 posted on 04/18/2020 4:39:57 AM PDT by abb
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To: spacejunkie2001

Demings and his wife Val are both idiots. Orange county should be ashamed.

6 posted on 04/18/2020 5:24:54 AM PDT by VeniVidiVici (Gays can give blood but I can't)
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To: spacejunkie2001

Thanks for that man-on-the-street report.
OTOH - Disney and Universal are going to be trying to re-invent their “worlds”. It will be interesting....and difficult.

7 posted on 04/18/2020 8:43:40 AM PDT by Honest Nigerian
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To: jz638

That is what I’m thinking. There will be deals to be had ... and I intend to take full advantage of them.

As soon as the border reopens, my sister and I intend to go to Florida. :-)

8 posted on 05/06/2020 4:36:23 AM PDT by proud American in Canada (President Trump is never wrong! What a smart, hard-working, energetic man he is.)
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