SAN FRANCISCO (KGO) -- Protesters frustrated with ongoing shelter-in-place restrictions in California due to the novel coronavirus pandemic are gathering in at least 11 cities around the state to give Gov. Gavin Newsom a piece of their mind.
Starting at noon Friday, thousands of people gathered outside the State Capitol in Sacramento. Many of them could be seen standing closely together, not wearing masks or face coverings. They cheered and waved American flags as speakers chanted through megaphones.
Another such protest was planned at San Francisco City Hall. The group was planning to create a "gridlock loop" of cars on the streets surrounding City Hall and to have a walking protest out front.
Despite their urges to reopen California as quickly as possible, organizers seem to at least acknowledge there's a health risk (not to mention a violation of the law) in gathering a bunch of people together in close proximity. The group's website instructs protesters to stand at least six feet apart from each other, per CDC guidelines.
The group also urged attendees to create poster board signs with a "variety of verbiage." (Suggestions include "FREEDOM WE THE PEOPLE," "OPEN OUR CHURCHES," "The shutdown is killing us" and "Practice Media Distancing.") Not sure what to chant? They have suggestions for that, too: "Open our state now" and "Back to school."
Red, white and blue attire is preferred, but not required.
Protesters were also planning to gather in San Diego and Los Angeles, all at the same time as Gov. Newsom's daily noon briefing on novel coronavirus.
"The rights of people are being suspended and the constitution trampled on and that's the biggest problem we have at this time," says Vivienne Reign who is a business owner helping to organize the Sacramento rally Friday.
While some of the local "Reopen California" Facebook groups have thousands of members, opposition to the rallies is also high on social media. Christopher Martin writes, "Too early, too soon. STAY HOME."
"There's always going to be those that are a little selfish and think about themselves first," says San Francisco resident Eric Westcott.
"All of us at some point in the day end up going out a little bit selfish to overdo that because not only are you at risk you are putting others at risk," says Neeharika Vinod.
Gov. Newsom has repeatedly said he's feeling the pressure to reopen the state more quickly, but is leaning on scientific data to decide on timing.
"Politics will not drive our decision making. Protests will not drive our decision making. Political pressure will not drive our decision making," said Gov. Newsom. "The science, data and public health will drive our decision making."
If you have a question or comment about the coronavirus pandemic, submit yours via the form below or here.
Get the latest news, information and videos about the novel coronavirus pandemic here
RELATED STORIES & VIDEOS:
- COVID-19 Help: Comprehensive list of resources, information
- INTERACTIVE TIMELINE: How close was CA to becoming a NY-level crisis?
- Live updates about coronavirus outbreak in US, around the world
- What will it take to get a COVID-19 vaccine and how will it be made?
- How California's COVID-19 cases stack up against other hot spot states
- Everything you need to know about the Bay Area's shelter-in-place order
- Coronavirus Timeline: Tracking major moments of COVID-19 pandemic in San Francisco Bay Area/
- List: Where can I get tested for COVID-19 in the Bay Area?
- COVID-19 Diaries: Personal stories of Bay Area residents during novel coronavirus pandemic
- Coronavirus Doctor's Note: Dr. Alok Patel gives his insight into COVID-19 pandemic
- What does COVID-19 do to your body and why does it spread so easily?
- Stimulus calculator: How much money should you expect from coronavirus relief bill
- WATCH: ABC7's interactive town hall 'Race and Coronavirus: A Bay Area Conversation'
- What Bay Area tenants need to know about rent payments, eviction amid COVID-19 outbreak
- Here's how shelter in place, stay at home orders can slow spread of COVID-19
- Symptoms, prevention, and how to prepare for a COVID-19 outbreak in the US
- List of stores, companies closing due to coronavirus pandemic
- Canceled late fees, free services available amid COVID-19 crisis
- Here's how you can help during COVID-19 pandemic
- How to maintain learning during school closures
- No masks but here are 100+ products that may help protect you against novel coronavirus germs
- Here's a look at some of history's worst pandemics that have killed millions