Dozens of protesters gathered outside the former courthouse in Doylestown Borough Wednesday, chanting, waving the American flag and calling for the reopening of businesses across Bucks County.
Drivers blared their horns in support of the men and women packed closely together, some wearing masks, others not, as they held signs reading “We Want Our Freedom Back,” and “Liberty is God Given, Not Man Made.”
At the front of the crowd a man waved a large Trump flag, as some were led in calls to “Fire Fauci,” and “Open Bucks.”
Mona Chipman of Lahaska said she came to show her support for small businesses and protest Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf’s orders to close non-essential businesses. Calling the restrictions “unfathomable” and “unconstitutional,” Chipman, who was wearing a mask, said, “We have to build up normal immunity.”
Doylestown business owner JT Schaefer said she and other small business owners should be allowed to open. “Walmart, Target, beer stores are open, why not us? We are a lot safer than they are. We’re small, can have just a few people, with masks,” said Schaefer, owner of Classic Cigar Parlor on North Main Street.
The borough’s mayor, Ron Strouse, wearing a mask, looked on from across the street. He said he heard of the event from a new website - Open Bucks Up. “It’s been up six days, and had 2,510 followers as of this morning,” he said, of the site, which is closed to non-members. “There’s no question there’s significant outside influence.”
Strouse said, borough officials have been having Zoom meetings with business owners to discuss ways to safely reopen. “We all want to have some type of safe opening that is sound economically. We are creating a message and a reality that there’s a safe environment to come back to,” the mayor said. “Health and safety have to be the priority…people won’t come out if they don’t feel it’s safe.”
Pointing to demonstrators, he said, “this doesn’t help us get there at all.”