More than 100 cars join protest against governor’s closure of non-essential businesses

More than 100 cars join protest against governor’s closure of non-essential businesses
Organizers said more than 100 cars joined them for the “Drive to Thrive” event. (Source: WIS)

COLUMBIA, S.C. (WIS) - The sound of car horns roared in downtown Columbia for about an hour and a half Friday afternoon

Protesters wanting to see the state 're-open' held demonstrations on the grounds of the State House and circled around it.

Organizers said more than 100 cars joined them for the “Drive to Thrive” event. Tom Trammell, an unemployed hearing aid practitioner, said he created the event with the help of two other people to protest the governor’s “Stay At Home” order and the closure of nonessential businesses.

He said they wanted to do this for those in South Carolina who lost their jobs and aren't bringing in any income in this difficult time.

Critics of the event said these protests were sending a message that money was more important than lives. Trammell said they are taking the pandemic seriously. That's why his group stayed in their cars and he believes the priority right now is to protect the most vulnerable.

"I totally understand their point of view,” he said. “One of the things we want the governor to think about is changing the quarantine. In other words, find the people who are most vulnerable and find a way to get people back to work."

Peggy Edwards, who also helped organize the mobile protest event, said she was happy to see retail stores reopen earlier this week, but she believes the rest of the state’s businesses need to have the option to re-open as soon as possible.

She added businesses should be able to make adjustments to protect their staff and customers.

“I want the Governor to understand it’s not a one-size-fits-all solution,” she said.

"If it happens again in September, are my kids going to be out of school for another year?” said Kenna Cabañas, who is another organizer of the event. “Are all our businesses going to be gone? Are we going to be put in another chokehold?"

According to recent national polls, the majority of Americans support keeping stay-at-home restrictions to fight the coronavirus pandemic.

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