RICHMOND, Va. – Gov. Ralph Northam believes the commonwealth is not ready to reopen but thousands of people argue otherwise.
Like others across the country, they're planning to protest in Richmond on Wednesday.
The governor has banned gatherings of 10 or more people, so organizers have made this a drive-in rally, which they’ve been promoting with #GridlockRichmond.
Last week, a few dozen people showed up to the state capital in a more traditional protest, calling on Northam to reopen Virginia.
Support for this movement has surged in recent days, with a Facebook group touting more than 31,000 members.
Organizers for Wednesday’s rally told 10 News they’re expecting hundreds of cars and potentially thousands of participants to circle capital square.
Non-essential businesses have been closed since March 23. The entire state has been under a stay-at-home order since March 30.
Reopen Virginia participants call the governor's stay-at-home order until June 10 unreasonable and said it's time to start talking about how to reopen.
“If we don't come together now to get this economy back open and running and healthy, we could very well not have an economy at all when we decide to do it,” said David Britt, organizer of the Reopen Virginia rally.
Britt said the governor is right to be concerned about the health crisis, but he needs to think about the financial health of Virginia too.
“We have to move past the fear and start working with rationality and with reason and logic and facts and the facts show that it's time. We need to be working to reopen this economy sooner rather than later,” Britt said.
Wednesday’s rally is happening as legislators are returning to Richmond.
Gov. Northam said models predict the peak in Virginia to happen this week.
The governor has said he doesn’t need people protesting to encourage him to open up our economy any sooner than we can do so safely and responsibly.