Albany Protest Against Continued Quarantine

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By Laura Rose

ALBANY, NY, ­– Fifty-two days after the quarantine was invoked, Governor Andrew Cuomo confirmed that New York will reopen at a different rate in different regions of the state. “We’re going to make reopening decisions on a regional basis based on that region’s facts and circumstances,” he said during his daily briefing on Tuesday morning. Even with this announcement, just 24 hours later approximately 180 New York State residents safely gathered at the side of our state’s Capital Building to protest the quarantine’s continuance. Their common demand seemed to be more than just a plea to reopen New York, but to present concerns of possible non-medical aftereffects. The air was windy and cool in temperature with a vibe, crisp with human energy ­– cars were honking, people were cheering, and many chanted with mixed emotions of anger and sadness. Several messages were displayed on homemade signs, through American flags waving, and from the protesters themselves.

There is concern for small business survival

Michele of Allegany County, NY shares how her business has been impacted. “I work for a cement block plant; we are not working, and I don’t know if there will be a business to return to.” Ashley also from Allegany County wonders how many suicides and other mental challenges are resulting from the effects of loss of livelihood. “My local dairy farmer is dumping milk on the ground because he can’t sell it; we fear he is severely depressed.” Pat from Albany, NY shares, “People don’t want to be on food stamps, they want to work but so many of us had to become unemployed.”

There is concern that upcoming elections may hurt democratic fairness

Some used the event to share their displeasure of or approval of current political servants. However, many not actively supporting a particular presidential candidate were fearful that the temperature cooling in autumn, may give way to a possible spike of new Covid19 virus cases which will entice candidates seeking to look strong, to make draconian announcements that could have damaging ramifications. Frank from Montgomery County shares to this point, “When sick people can’t go out, it’s called quarantine. When healthy people can’t go it’s called martial law.” Also impacting the elections, some fear voter fraud may take place to take advantage of Covid19 victims, their families fear, and everyone’s confusion after an economic shutdown. Jimmy, an upstate resident using a microphone to voice his concerns, predicts that New York State residents are going to be urged by social distancing to do voting online and through the mail. He relays, “Illegal immigrants and deceased people could be voting this November.”

There is concern about personal loss

Bridgett from Nassau County in Long Island shares her predicament. “I am trying to buy a home, but I can’t get the title, a survey, or occupancy paperwork to close because there is no one working.” Bridget explains that being in limbo, not able to move out, is causing severe stress on her and her family. Michael from Albany County shares that people are losing their livelihoods, maybe their lives and they don’t even have the virus. He suggests that “hot spots should be dealt with in a safe and respectable way and to not shut everyone down.”

There is concern that precedence is being set to remove future freedoms

One sign reads, “It’s not a Republican thing, it’s not a Democrat thing, quarantining healthy people is a steppingstone to take away our children’s human freedoms.” Julie from Suffolk County says, “If we don’t take a stand now, our civil liberties will be taken away.” The protest was in part organized by the Facebook group ReOpen New York State. It made an invitation for this protest gathering and is planning future protests. The group site states, “We are a group of likeminded New Yorkers against excessive quarantine.” David Stonge, a volunteer activist of the group had this to say about the event today. “Covid19 is very serious and we don’t think Covid19 is going away, but neither is the need to get back to work.” He continues, “As we begin to open and get back to the new normal, we need to continue strong support of the medical freedom movement.”