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Protesters hit streets of Fort Lauderdale, call for leaders to reopen Florida

“Everybody’s jobs are essential,” protester says

Protesters in Fort Lauderdale didn't let rain stop them
Protesters in Fort Lauderdale didn't let rain stop them

FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. – Rain showers may have soaked the streets of Fort Lauderdale Sunday, but it didn’t stop a determined group of protesters.

“We have God-given rights and freedoms in the world we live in, and we’re just out here exercising our First Amendment,” one protester, identified only as Steve, said.

Protesters decked out their cars with signs and American flags to encourage local and state leaders to re-open Florida.

“We’re just trying to be logical,” Denise Ziolo said. “If you can walk on crowded sidewalks, why can’t you walk on the beach? It doesn’t make sense.

“It’s time to slowly reopen the state and get everybody moving again and get the economy going,” Joe Ziolo added.

But health experts maintain that rushing the re-opening process of non-essential businesses in the Sunshine State could spark a second deadly wave of COVID-19.

It’s a risk some of the protesters believe is more hype.

“Ninety-nine percent of the people who contract this are not going to die,” one man said.

“The science is just not there, so the elderly and the sick probably need to stay home, but the rest of the people need to get back to work,” Denise Ziolo said.

At one point, the group protested in close quarters on a sidewalk, defying the CDC’s social distancing guidelines even though they realize that guideline is key to safely getting businesses back up and running.

“Everybody’s jobs are essential,” Steve said. “I think people in the U.S. know they can practice social distancing and get back to work.”

About the Author:

Terrell Forney joined Local 10 News in October 2005 as a general assignment reporter. He was born and raised in Cleveland, Ohio, but a desire to escape the harsh winters of the north brought him to South Florida.