‘Reopen Maryland’ on the Shore

Submitted to Dorchester Banner/Dave Ryan
This truck was one of the vehicles in the cross-state caravan carrying protesters against the covid-19 shutdown. In addition to messages regarding Governor Larry Hogan written on the truck, it carried a board showing a figure behind bars and under a sign saying, “America Land of the Free?” The flag featured a military-style rifle and the words, “Come And Take Me.”

CAMBRIDGE — Not everyone supports the shutdown ordered by Maryland Governor Larry Hogan.

Reopen Maryland is a group of citizens who oppose measures taken by the state’s administration to slow the spread of COVID-19. These include instructions to stay at home unless it is absolutely necessary, and the closure of all businesses deemed by the government to be not essential.
“Marylanders: If you’re tired of being on indefinite house arrest while the government fails to protect the most vulnerable…if you think taxpayers deserve answers when millions of dollars are secretively spent on still-unused test strips….if your business is struggling and you can’t hang on much longer…come join us,” a statement from Reopen Maryland said on their social media site, inviting participants to the demonstration.

The protest began Saturday morning in Frederick, where speakers addressed demonstrators. Then it moved in a caravan across the state, flying flags and displaying messages on vehicles.
The cars and trucks passed through Cambridge shortly before 2 p.m., heading for a rendezvous in Salisbury at 2:30, where event organizers and Congressman Andy Harris (R-1) were scheduled to speak.
“We are committed to peaceful advocacy for public health measures that respect Marylanders’ civil rights, economic well-being and educational access,” a statement from the group said. “We support immediate, responsible reopening of our state’s business, educational and religious institutions.”

About 100 demonstrators gathered in the parking lot of Kohl’s, after being turned away by police from the original site at the Centre at Salisbury. Few masks were worn in the crowd, which included elderly persons and young children.
Rep. Harris wore a plastic surgical-style face shield, taking it off when he spoke to the group. He wore no mask underneath.

“Let common sense prevail now,” he said, speaking through a microphone at the center of the group. “We know what’s safe and what isn’t.”
The congressman’s stance puts him at odds not only with fellow Republican Gov. Hogan, but also Dr. Deborah Birx, the White House coronavirus response coordinator. Speaking over the weekend about demonstrators around the country protesting the shutdown, she said, “It’s devastatingly worrisome to me personally because if they go home and infect their grandmother or their grandfather who has a co-morbid condition and they have a serious or a very — or an unfortunate outcome, they will feel guilty for the rest of our lives,” Birx said. “So we need to protect each other at the same time we’re voicing our discontent.”

“I’ll say as a doctor, a bad economy is bad for health,” said the congressman, who is also a physician. “A good economy is good for health.”
Rep. Harris said citizens must insist that they be given back their freedoms, “Which weren’t given to us by government.”


Helpful Coronavirus links

Maryland Department of Health Coronavirus Page
CDC: About the Coronavirus Disease 2019
CDC: What to do if You Are Sick
Johns Hopkins Coronavirus Resource Center
AP News Coronavirus Coverage

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