ReOpen NC sees smaller support base after arrests, change in direction

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RALEIGH, N.C. (WNCN) — One week after a large crowd took over downtown Raleigh to urge Gov. Roy Cooper to reopen North Carolina, there were barely enough people to pack a parking lot.

Many protestors say there is renewed hope that North Carolina will soon reopen, but say after a ReOpen NC administrator said she tested positive for COVID-19 and another was arrested they are backing away from the group.

“If I lost my business, I wouldn’t be worrying about protesting right now,” said Stephen Wagner. “I’d be worried about feeding my family. I’d be worried about getting a new job.”

“I almost didn’t come because of the rain,” said Pastor Fred Daniel.

As many counties allow their stay at home orders to expire the debate has shifted towards the best way to reopen North Carolina.

“I’m still trying to figure out what stage of their plan takes us back to the new normal,” said Wagner.

“Let’s reopen, period,” said Daniel. “The order is unconstitutional. We have a right to work, and enjoy the fruits of our labors.”

With more than one million North Carolinians out of a job, there seems to be one thing both sides can agree on – and it starts in Washington.

“I really hope they give every dime they can give every person,” said Wagner. “They’re quick to take money from folks, so any time they’ll give it out even if it’s something I don’t believe in, by all means, spread it around.”

At this point it’s unclear if Congress will consider a second stimulus package.

On Monday, Cooper signed two COVID-19 relief bills by state lawmakers.

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