East Meadow protest calls for Long Island businesses to reopen
Protesters gathered in Nassau County Sunday to call for small businesses to reopen, as Long Island remains under New York's PAUSE order due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
The group gathered along Hempstead Turnpike in East Meadow on Sunday for an Open Up NY rally. Those who attended say that small businesses are ready to open.
"Two months ago I would have not been here," says Tommy McDougal, of Bethpage. "In March, I think the shutdown was perfect. I think we had to flatten the curve -- we flattened the curve."
Gov. Andrew Cuomo says Long Island has not yet reached all of the metrics to safely reopen because its has not had a 14-day decline in hospital deaths and does not have enough contact tracers.
Rally organizers say they remain focused on getting small businesses on Long Island opened up before they have to close for good.
Several people at the rally alleged that News 12 would not be fair and one sign on display said "Fake News is Not Essential." As News 12 has reported, that message was chanted at previous reopen rally last week, and video of that protest was later tweeted by President Donald Trump.
Some people at Sunday's rally were not practicing social distancing or wearing masks. Nassau Police Commissioner Patrick Ryder says it wouldn't be safe to enforce those rules.
"If you go into a crowd like that with protesters that are against this -- it's only going to get bad," Ryder says. "There's nothing good that's going to come out of it."
Ryder also says officers did not issue any summonses to people at the rally for violating social distancing.