Small group of protesters calls for government to ease stay-at-home restrictions

Small group of protesters calls for government to ease stay-at-home restrictions

HONOLULU, Hawaii (HawaiiNewsNow) - Some two dozen people participated in a rolling caravan Sunday on Oahu, saying their rights are being violated by government mandates aimed at stopping the spread of coronavirus. The caravan is similar to protests cropping up around the United States.

Protesters drove from the Kapolei Costco to the state Capitol building. waving American flags.

A similar protest was reported in Kauai on Saturday. Around two dozen people also participated in that gathering.

Current mandates, which went into effect March 25, require people to stay at home unless they’re taking care of “essential” needs. And recently-implemented rules require everyone to wear cloth masks when going into “essential” businesses.

The emergency orders are all aimed at preventing more people from getting sick. And there’s strong evidence to suggest that they’ve worked; Hawaii is seeing a downward trend in new cases.

But those who turned out Sunday said the mandates are hurting the islands.

“Open Hawaii for everybody because, you know, we are hurting more than we are hurting from the virus," said protest organizer Emil Svrcina.

The tourism industry, which makes up a large chunk of the state’s economy has collapsed since stay-at-home orders went into effect and a mandatory quarantine was put in place for travelers.

On Saturday, 109 visitors arrived statewide compared to more than 30,000 a year ago.

Protesters are asking lawmakers to take action to save Hawaii’s economy and allow people back out into the community.

While the rallies locally and nationally have grabbed headlines, national polling shows that the vast majority of Americans support orders keeping people at home and out of public spaces.

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