ANNAPOLIS, Md. (WJZ) — A protest to reopen Maryland amid the coronavirus pandemic reportedly set for 9 a.m. Monday morning never materialized.
When WJZ showed up at 9 a.m., there was no large-scale demonstration; instead, a lone pickup truck was seen circling city streets with American and “Don’t Tread On Me” flags flying while another protester walked up and down the streets with a “Don’t Tread On Me” flag.
The city of Annapolis had been warning residents and business owners that traffic could be bad downtown due to another protest scheduled for Monday. They have since deleted the tweet.
According to the city, it was supposed to be the same “Reopen Maryland” group that protested over the weekend, but the Reopen Maryland group said it’s not them.
“There have been reports of a demonstration tomorrow in Annapolis to protest the state’s shutdown and lockdown orders, the group said on its page. “#ReOpenMaryland is NOT hosting, sponsoring or endorsing any protest events in Annapolis.”
Ron Furman of Max’s Tap House in Annapolis closed his business last month. His employees have been on furlough.
Furman spoke in favor of the stay-at-home order and restrictions closing numerous businesses like his.
“Every time you go out, you run the risk of bringing it home,” he said. “We need to be able to test the population and track those that have it. Those are answers that we need to open the economy back up.”
While it’s inconvenient, he urged people to listen to experts calling for closures to stay in place for now.
“(Staying home is) what the experts have been telling us and I think we need to listen,” Furman said. “I need to make sure (our employees) are gonna be safe.”
Over the weekend, Reopen Maryland protested the closure of many non-essential businesses due to the coronavirus pandemic with a parade of cars honking near State Circle. Many had signs or writing on their cars to share their stories.
They called on Gov. Larry Hogan to remove some restrictions the state has put in place to slow the spread of the coronavirus.
“#ReopenMaryland did sponsor a successful, well-attended, law-abiding protest on Saturday, 18 April 2020, in which numerous Marylanders peacefully exercised their constitutional rights. #ReopenMaryland is committed to peaceful and law-abiding advocacy,” the group said.
Gov. Hogan’s communications director Mike Ricci tweeted the demonstration had “minimal participation, was peaceful, and had no disruptions.”
The Maryland Capitol Police worked alongside various agencies this morning in Annapolis to provide traffic control and ensure an orderly demonstration.
Today's demonstration had minimal participation, was peaceful, and had no disruptions.
— Mike Ricci (@riccimike) April 20, 2020
Police did not provide a crowd estimate for the weekend’s protest.