Anti-Shutdown Protesters Organize Another Rally in Downtown Dallas

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Even as some Texas businesses prepare to get people back to work in a limited capacity, protesters against the shutdown gathered in Dealey Plaza Tuesday morning demanding a total reopening of the state.

At least 50 people organized outside of the Dallas County administrative building, many with signs, but few wearing protective coverings over their faces. Several Dallas police officers were on scene at a safe distance, keeping watch in case they were needed for crowd control.

The group, called Open Texas, is the same group who organized hundreds in a rally over the weekend in Frisco.

The group is asking for local and state leaders to reopen all businesses.

Even though some retail, restaurants and movie theaters are slowly re-opening this week, hair salons, nail salons, barbershops, gyms and bars are to remain closed until mid-May, if infections don't spike, according to Gov. Greg Abbott.

In a statement, protesters said they believe healthy citizens should have the right to go back to work.

However, health experts said these stay-at-home orders have been crucial in flattening the curve of the coronavirus outbreak. The order has also drawn concerns from local business owners who think it is too fast.

Adding to the concerns, Texas ranks nearly last in the country -- at 49th -- for testing, according to data from the COVID Tracking Project.

Dallas County Judge Clay Jenkins posted tweets calling for a slower reopening before the governor’s plan was announced.

Monday evening, Dallas Mayor Eric Johnson released the following statement in regards to Abbott's plan.

“The governor has made a decision and, under Texas law, he has the final say in these matters, so now it is incumbent upon all Texans to ensure that this plan is successful. Dallas residents and local leaders have worked hard to flatten the curve of COVID-19's spread, and we must continue our commitment to social distancing practices, good hygiene, protecting our vulnerable populations, and doing all we can to increase testing and contact tracing.”

Late Monday night, Dallas County Judge Clay Jenkins issued a statement in response to Abbott's plan, saying: 

“The first priority of those you elect is to keep you safe. I've asked Dallas County Health and Human Services Director Dr. Philip Huang and physician leaders, including those specializing in infectious disease and epidemiology from area hospitals, to carefully review the Governor's orders and will wait to hear from them. Most other plans that open businesses in phases don’t put places like movie theaters in the first group to open. The orders have changed but the science that will keep us safe has not. I believe North Texans will focus not on “what can they do” but rather “what should they do”. It will be imperative for North Texans to make good choices particularly where these orders veer from the advice of public health experts. Following science is the best way to keep safe and open the economy.”

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