May 5, 2020 at 1:20 PM EDT – Updated May 5 at 10:09 PM
RALEIGH, N.C. (WNCN/WECT) – Protesters were back in downtown Raleigh for the fourth straight Tuesday, urging Gov. Roy Cooper to “reopen” the state amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
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. “Let’s reopen, period,” he added. “The order is unconstitutional. We have a right to work, and enjoy the fruits of our labors.”
This week, the group said they had owners of small businesses and people who lost their jobs in attendance to share their stories and talk about the impacts the state’s stay-at-home order has had on them.
“We are here today to talk about our broken hearts and to share in each other’s sorrow because for many of us this is the end of our way of life as we have known it,” said Smith.
About a block away from the ReOpen NC protest, a group of medical professionals stood outside the North Carolina Legislative Building and showed their support for the governor’s decisions and cautioned against reopening the state too soon.
“Everybody that I know wants to get back to normalcy. But, at the end of the day, we have to balance the pros and the cons. And, I think life is more important than livelihood,” said Lisa Matthews who traveled from Winston-Salem to stand in support of the state’s COVID-19 response.
North Carolina saw another 22 deaths from the coronavirus over the last 24 hours and state health officials reported at least 408 new cases.
There have been at least 12,256 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in the state at least 452 deaths. Nearly 540 people are currently hospitalized across North Carolina due to the coronavirus.
Cooper will talk about the reopening process at a press conference this evening.
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