After Michigan Democratic Gov. Gretchen Whitmer issued new oppressive regulations, even barring private gatherings “of any size,” Garrett Soldano started a Facebook page called “Michiganders Against Excessive Quarantine.”
“I was like, ‘I’m going to reach out to 500 people, hopefully there are 500 people like me,'” he told FOX-2 in Detroit.
The page now has 334,000 subscribers.
“When you are taking away our basic freedoms, when you are telling us what we can, and can’t buy, that is where I have a problem. That is where I have decided to stand tall,” Soldano told the station. “Michiganders are hurting right now. And people are hurting to provide for their own family. And that’s where I have a problem. That is where this virus does not have the teeth to support that.”
More than 25,000 people have tested positive for COVID-19 in Michigan and more than 1,600 have died, according to the Michigan Department of Health.
The Facebook page is exploding just as “Operation Gridlock” got underway at the the Michigan State Capitol on Wednesday. Thousands of fed-up residents jammed the roads in Lansing to protest Whitmer’s stay-at-home order, one of the most restrictive in the country.
The operation, organized by the Michigan Conservative Coalition (MCC), directed protesters to circle the capitol, honking their horns. Some protesters sported signs that said, “tyranny worse than the virus” and “honk if you love liberty.”
— Mikenzie Frost (@MikenzieFrost) April 15, 2020
“Our Governor and her allies are infecting ALL of us with their radical, progressive agenda,” MCC said on its Facebook page organizing the protest. “Dope stores? Open. Abortion clinics? Open. Churches? Shut down. Local businesses? Going broke!”
Whitmer came under fire this week after issuing an expansive new order to lock down state residents during the coronavirus pandemic, forbidding anyone from buying items she deemed “non-essential,” and banning gatherings “of any size” — public or private. The Democratic governor’s extension of Michigan’s stay-at-home order also bans the sale of seeds and plants, which is drew fire from greenhouse and nursery owners. Retail garden centers have been ordered to close.
Meshawn Maddock, a MCC spokesman, told local TV affiliate News 10 that Whitmer’s order is overly restrictive and highly damaging to businesses. “There is no reason why she can’t be looking at some safe ways to be opening up businesses. Instead of talking about what’s essential and nonessential, let’s talk about what’s safe and not safe.”
Michigan’s Republican Speaker of the House Lee Chatfield blasted Whitmer for making the “wrong call” and “bad for Michigan families.”
“Instead of essential vs non-essential, we should think safe vs unsafe,” Chatfield wrote on Twitter on Friday. “In Michigan, these are currently not allowed: — Lawn care — Construction — Buying home improvement materials — Buying seeds & plants — Fishing if a motor is used (Just to name a few. All these are safe. But the Governor says no. We can ensure safety & be reasonable. Let’s do both,” he wrote.
Residents in North Carolina are also fed up. “We are residents of North Carolina that stand for The Constitution and demand our officials Reopen NC no later than April 29, 2020,” the ReopenNC Facebook page says. “We are losing our small businesses, which are the backbone of our economy. The shutdown is not warranted, nor sustainable for our area. The vulnerable can be isolated or protected in other ways, without sacrificing our entire state economy. It’s important to note, several other states have not enacted stay at home orders.”
And Ohio has already had protests.
“Last Thursday, dozens of protestors carrying placards and wearing Guy Fawkes masks ignored Ohio’s social-distancing guidelines to demonstrate on steps of the state’s capital building in Columbus against Gov. Mike DeWine, a Republican, and his administration’s handling of the outbreak,” Fox News reported. “Demonstrators held signs reading ‘Open Ohio,’ ‘Quarantine worse than virus,’ and Social distancing or social conditioning. We do not consent.'”