Erie Protests Quarantine


Pat Noble

Statue of Oliver Hazard Perry within Perry square.

Calleigh Nurse, Reporter

On Monday, April 20, over 100 protesters filled Perry Square in the city of Erie. The protesters rallied together to demand an end to the shutdowns caused by Covid-19. 

Many people held signs that denounced Gov. Tom Wolf for his decision to close non-essential businesses on March 19 in an attempt to slow the spread of the coronavirus. According to Brian Lee, a Cathedral Prep student who witnessed the objections, many signs stated; “Live free or die in lockdown” and “This ‘cure’ is deadlier than the virus.” Protesters also were seen to wave American flags as well as President Trump’s flag. 

The large group formed a circle by Perry Square fountain and advocated for businesses to reopen as well as the state of Pennsylvania. Protesters stated that they wanted businesses to reopen sooner because the shutdown is harming their locally owned stores and jobs.

“They wanted their jobs back,” Lee stated. “But they didn’t understand that by breaking social distancing protocol, they could make the time in quarantine longer.”

The protest did in fact break social distancing protocol as well as the stay-at- home order. According to Erie Times-News, only some of the protesters were wearing masks. People rallied behind Justin Dillon, who organized the rally on Monday. 

“There are too many businesses closing up permanently due to this,” Dillon stated. “I think it’s all of our responsibilities to choose what we decide to do, where we decide to shop, when we go there, and how much we spend.”

Gov. Tom Wolf has extended the Pennsylvania lockdown to May 8 and has introduced his plans to gradually reopen the state’s economy. Yet the protestors said they wanted businesses to reopen sooner. 

“Of course I want to see my community go back to work,” Rebecca Nurse, 51, of Waterford stated, “I just want to see it done in a safe way”.