Protesters on Long Island call for reopening amid COVID-19 pandemic

Protests calling for the immediate reopening of the economy took place in Commack Friday.
It comes after a demonstration last week in Carle Place. Organizers of Friday's events say it's to show support for big and small businesses across the Island and push back against their rights being violated by the shutdown.
So far, 1,700 Nassau residents and 1,177 Suffolk residents have died from COVID-19.
A sizable crowd gathered at the intersection of Jericho Turnpike and Veterans Memorial Highway for the Commack demonstration, where protesters donned American flags, President Trump gear and signs voicing their support of reopening the economy. Many did not wear masks and ignored social distancing guidelines.
One protester said, "I've been reading that most of the time when you wear a mask, eight hours a day, you're more susceptible to hurting yourself than helping yourself." When asked where they got that information, they said, "On the internet, look it up, it's all there."
While many called for immediate reopening of all businesses, one out-of-work construction contractor wanted to see businesses slowly reopened over time.
Others called for schools to be reopened, despite Gov. Cuomo's announcement that they will be closed for the remainder of the academic year.
Another person in attendance said that when a coronavirus vaccine does hit the market, they do not plan to use it because they do not believe in using vaccines.
Suffolk police watched the protest, but did not enforce social distancing, saying that is handled on a case-by-case basis.
Suffolk County Steve Bellone said that he agrees that the economy must open back up, "but we need to do it in a safe way and protect public health at the same time."
Gov. Andrew Cuomo said last week that the state will not reopen nonessential businesses just because there's pressure to do so. The state's Pause program will remain in effect until at least May 15.
Long Island's 13 town supervisors held a virtual meeting Frday in order to coordinate the eventual reopening of parks, beaches and other outdoor spaces this summer.
"We are going to have a summer. It's going to be a lot different. A lot of us are going to look a little weird with a sunburn around our masks," says Babylon Town Supervisor Rich Schaffer.
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