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Gov. Northam's message to honking Reopen protesters

Posted at 5:08 PM, May 06, 2020
and last updated 2020-05-07 11:47:40-04

RICHMOND, Va. -- Protesters circled the Virginia State Capitol Wednesday urging Gov. Ralph Northam to lift COVID-19 restrictions nearly two months after the state's first positive case of the virus was diagnosed.

State Sen. Amanda Chase, who announced in February she would seek the GOP nomination for the 2021 gubernatorial race, and Del. John McGuire were among those marching outside the capitol.

Chase said she was protesting because she feels Virginia's COVID-19 restrictions are unfair and could lead to a government-induced recession.

"That's my issue -- why is the governor saying these businesses should be open, but not these little guys?" Chase said. "That's where I'm having a lot of issues."

Others in cars and trucks circled Capitol Square honking in protest.

Northam was asked if he had a message for those honking outside, "expressing anger" over his stay-at-home order.

"I want to thank... the folks that are stepping up every day to be part of the solution to to protect the health and well being of Virginians to get this health crisis behind us and so that we can move on and get our economy back up and running again," Northam said.

Northam lauded the men and women of the National Guard, who are helping in the response to the pandemic, as well as nurses and teachers. Wednesday marked National Nurses Day and Monday marked the start of Teacher Appreciation Week.

"I along with probably everybody in this room, and those of you watching, would not be where we are, if it hadn't been for outstanding teachers that we had when when we were coming along," Northam said. "They have really stepped up during this pandemic. Our children out of school, but that has not stopped them from reaching out to children, the families, making sure that they continue to receive their education. Making sure that they continue to receive the nutrition, making sure individuals with disabilities are taken care of. I can't say enough about what our teachers are doing across the Commonwealth of Virginia... Please reach out to them this week, and thank them and let them know how much we appreciate them for all that they do."

Northam said that as long as PPE supplies remain stocked and hospitalizations continue to decline, Virginia will begin phase one reopening of businesses on Friday, May 15.

"On Friday we will talk in more detail about our plans," Northam said. "When hopefully we can enter phase one, and I think answer a lot of questions for our businesses, and really our main goal as we go into phase one is to make sure that our consumers are comfortable going back into our places of businesses across Virginia. And our businesses have really stepped up and want to make sure that that's the case."