A group of more than 100 protesters converged on Huntington Beach on Friday in a demonstration against California’s coronavirus stay-at-home rules, part of a series of national demonstrations organized by conservative groups.
The protesters — some with Trump banners and American flags — mostly were not wearing masks or practicing social distancing by standing at least six feet apart. And they offered views about the spread of the coronavirus that differed sharply from scientific findings and experts’ recommendations.
One of the first people to trickle into the afternoon’s protest in Huntington Beach was 62-year-old Paula Doyle.
The Costa Mesa resident arrived with a hand-held American flag and a “Live Free or Die Sign” and was “sick” of social distancing and Gov. Gavin Newsom’s stay-at-home order, which she said was “killing business.”
“I don’t think there’s any reason for us to be on lockdown now,” she said shortly after arguing with another Trump supporter who was in favor of quarantine. “We didn’t have any dangers; we have no danger in our hospitals now of overflowing.”
The comments of protesters fly in the face of what California public health officials and other experts have been saying about the coronavirus.
California’s relatively quick action to close businesses and order residents to stay home has tamped down the coronavirus pandemic and left many hospitals largely empty, waiting for a surge that has yet to come.