'Just let me open up!': Livermore small business owners, families rally for reopening shops amid COVID-19 pandemic

LIVERMORE, Calif. (KGO) -- In the East Bay, residents and small business owners rallied on Saturday while some made emotional pleas to let them reopen their doors, sooner than later.

Some chanted, "open up, open up."

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Dozens of people rallied in downtown Livermore, to support small businesses urging local leaders to allow them to reopen their doors.

"Livermore was nothing before there were small businesses," Alisa Mills said. "To let them fall by the wayside is not ok with me or my family."

Darren Liggett said, "We're hurting, zero revenue for two months now."

Darren and Andrea Liggett own Anytime Fitness gym, they believe they can safely reopen their doors now.

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"People are grocery shopping, I don't see the difference, we can move equipment around to keep gym members safe," said Andrea Liggett.

Nail salon owner Nancy Lam made this emotional plea.

"Just let me open up, I will respect and sanitize, please let me open my nail salon!" Lam said.

Organizers said the rally called "Save our town," was not designed to be political. Few people wore face coverings and observed social distancing.

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They say shelter-in-place restrictions set to be eased next week for much of Alameda county does not go far enough.

"We feel by working with the city, we can create a pathway to help them strive and do it cautiously," said rally co-organizer Len Digiovanni.

John Marchand, the mayor of Livermore, says rally organizers never reached out to the city or the downtown business association to include them. Marchand says re-opening will take time.

"I'd love to get business open, but it's not my call. We need to convince Alameda county we can open safely, something we're working hard to do," said Mayor Marchand.

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