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Coronavirus In Minnesota: Hundreds Rally Outside State Capitol To Reopen State, While Health Care Workers Counter-Protest

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MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) -- Hundreds of people rallied at the Minnesota State Capitol asking for an end to the state's stay-at-home order. It was a drive by rally organized by a group called Gridlock Minnesota.

They say their purpose is to get the attention of Gov. Tim Walz and have him reopen the state's economy.

"We're just out here to support people's right to work," said a driver named John, who did not want to give his last name.

"Protesting the lockdown, we need to get back to work," said a man who did not want to be named.

While the organizers called this a car rally to practice social distancing, many people took to the sidewalks and the capitol steps to make their voices heard.

"End this darn shutdown. It's unconstitutional. It's killing more people than you think you're saving," said Terry McCall, participating in the rally at the capitol.

Simultaneously, a quieter, more subtle protest by health care workers was happening outside Regions Hospital.

Nurses stood in silence in their scrubs, which to them was a clear enough message.

"I think it's really frustrating," said RN Allie Nakasone, who was among those standing at 12th and Jackson in St. Paul, "It kind of spiraled into nurses all across the metro that we're saying 'I want to help.'"

Nurses also stood in streets outside Bethesda Hospital, a designated COVID-19 treatment center next to the capitol and interacted with the Gridlock Minnesota participants.

"If we reopen we don't have the capacity for 6,000 ICU beds, we need to be smart about how we reopen," Nakasone said.

Gov. Walz's office released a statement saying in part that Minnesotans "can't lose our democracy during this pandemic, and this extends to people exercising their First Amendment rights."

Minnesota's stay-at-home order now runs through May 18.

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