PENNSYLVANIA — Health officials are warning of the risks which protesters face if they do not follow social distancing guidelines at a planned event protesting the coronavirus closures in Pennsylvania on Monday.
Several thousand people are expect to attend the event, which is scheduled to take place in front of the Capitol Complex in Harrisburg on Monday at noon.
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“I articulated before, that if the protesters stay in their cars, and drive around the capital, I wouldn’t expect any issues with that,” Pennsylvania Secretary of Health Rachel Levine said in news conference Sunday
However, she noted that if protesters decide to get out of their cars, don’t wear masks, or get within six feet of one another, they’re taking serious risks.
“I am concerned for their health,” she added.
Organizers say that participants are welcome to stay in their vehicles and drive around, and then, at noon, honk their horns. They’re asking participants to stay away from hospitals, so as not to impact healthcare services. Similar protests that took place in recent days in places like Michigan and Maryland also involved protesters driving.
However, the protest is not being organized specifically as an in-car protest.
“Social distancing is encouraged, but not mandated,” the event’s description reads. “Please act in a respectful manner toward those around you. Wear a face mask if you feel so inclined. This is not about Covid-19, but rather about re-starting our state’s economy.”
Levine also noted the risks posed by many of the protesters coming from various parts of the state. They could pick up the virus if not practicing social distancing guidelines while at the protest, and bring it back to their own communities.
it remains unclear what level of enforcement, if any, the protesters may encounter. Patch has reached out to the Capitol Police, which has jurisdiction there, with an inquiry regarding their plans for the event.