GREENSBORO, N.C. — A crowd of demonstrators gathered in Phill G. McDonald Plaza Monday, one of five demonstrations across the state hosted by ReOpen NC.
Speakers at The Freedom Rally called for a faster reopening process in North Carolina as families waved flags and held signs.
Organizers said the rally also served to honor fallen service members on Memorial Day.
“I encourage you today, on this Memorial Day, that you don’t beg for your rights, exercise them,” Pastor Fred Daniel said to a cheering crowd.
Daniel touted legal victories allowing churches to reopen for services. Supporters told FOX8 they believe more legal action will follow.
“There has to be more in order to move things along. Yes I do believe it needs to be moved along, I don’t believe our hospitals are overrun, COVID-19 is not going to go away,” said Patti White, who attended the rally.
Several people said they believed people considered vulnerable to the virus should take measures to protect themselves, but only a handful of attendees wore masks and few followed social distancing guidelines.
“You can’t quarantine the healthy,” said Tony Jacobelli. “And this country has decided to quarantine the healthy.”
Organizers handed out fliers with North Carolina’s COVID-19 case counts, highlighting figures like the 11,637 recovered patients.
Thomas Dickerson, who attended the rally, said he was one of them.
“This is not something to be ignored, it’s a problem but it needed to have been dealt with differently,” he said.
Mark Robinson, who is running for lieutenant governor, told the crowd he would only be discussing the importance of honoring those who sacrificed their lives for their country.
“One of the ways we honor those individuals is to continue to fight for the freedoms they died for, and that’s what we did with this rally,” he told FOX8.
Under Phase 2 restrictions for Gov. Roy Cooper’s reopening plan, mass gatherings outside should be limited to 25 people. However, there is an exception in the executive order permitting worship, religious, and spiritual gatherings, funeral ceremonies, wedding ceremonies, and other activities constituting the exercise of First Amendment rights.
A spokesperson for the Greensboro Police Department said organizers secured a permit for the demonstration and officers did work the event. No citations were issued.