Shelter-In-Place Protests: Why These Ignorant Demonstrations Are Dangerous

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A healthcare worker blocks the path of an anti-shelter-in-place protester

Peyton Brill, Contributor

School has been cancelled, businesses are closed. We have been told to stay home and remain six feet apart from others when we are in public. These “rules” and closures are all part of Governor Andrew Cuomo’s shelter-in-place order for New York State. Put into place on March 30, the order will continue through at least May 15 in an effort to slow and stop the spread of COVID-19.

Initially, I was upset by these measures, but I soon began to realize the importance of abiding by these rules. The sooner we do, the sooner things will go back to normal.

Unfortunately, however, others don’t feel the same way. I have seen pictures on social media of people hanging out; I have watched TikToks of users mocking an audio clip in which a newscaster advises the public to “only leave your house for things that are essential,” and users going to Starbucks and socializing with friends. These pictures and videos infuriate me. Don’t these people realize that the weaker members of our community are dying from this virus? When these people complain about missing school and claim that they’re bored at home, don’t they realize they’re contributing to the problem? Don’t they realize they’re putting others at risk? These answers are all clearly “no,” and for some, these “no’s” evolve into protests.
In states like Colorado, Maryland, New York, and Pennsylvania, generally conservative-led protests aimed against shelter-in-place rules have erupted. At these rallies, protesters can be seen carrying handwritten posters proclaiming “Jesus is My Vaccine,” “Freedom Over Fear,” and “My Rights Don’t End Where Your Feelings Begin.” Demonstrators have been caught on video chanting “Fire Fauci” outside government buildings. The most disturbing thing, though, is that these protesters are directly ignoring the rules set by their states, including six feet-social distancing and wearing masks in public. In response to these violations of social distancing guidelines, some social media platforms, such as Facebook, have begun to remove posts featuring these protests.
These protests are ignorant, selfish, and far from justified. These protesters aren’t helping to “flatten the curve.” In fact, they’re doing just the opposite. When large groups assemble, like during these rallies, more people become carriers of the virus, and it becomes increasingly difficult to get the virus under control. If they’re so anxious to return to work, school, and other public places, why not have patience and stay home? Social distancing is being advised for a reason. Everyone would rather be out with their friends and family, but self isolation is a necessary step in order for life to return to some form of normalcy.
If there is need for any more convincing that staying home is the best option, take a look at this picture of a healthcare worker blocking the way of a protester in Denver, Colorado. Our healthcare workers are working tirelessly to battle the virus. They stay at the hospitals for you. Just stay home for them.

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A healthcare worker blocks the path of an anti-shelter-in-place protester