A woman who had been campaigning to reopen the state of North Carolina and relax coronavirus restrictions including social distancing measures and stay-at-home orders imposed by the governor has been forced to stay at home after contracting coronavirus.
Audrey Whitlock was unable to even take part in the protest group’s first two rallies held in Raleigh because she was in quarantine after testing positive for the virus three weeks ago.
The group, named ReOpenNC, was protesting against Governor Roy Cooper’s stay-at-home order.
Audrey Whitlock a leader of the ReOpen NC group revealed that she tested positive for COVID
‘She never left her house during her quarantine, so she has not been at any rally or any of the functions that we’ve done,’ fellow organizer, Ashley Smith, told a local television station.
‘I’m not responsible for other people’s choices. I’m for personal liberty,’ Smith explained.
‘Everyone has their own decisions to make. If they want to come, that’s up to them. I’m going to be there. I’m not afraid of the virus. I’m more afraid of losing my constitutional rights and losing my livelihood than I am of the virus.’
Around 1,000 people rallied in downtown Raleigh last Tuesday arguing the order violated their constitutional rights.
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The Reopen NC group has helped organize two protests in downtown Raleigh calling for Governor Roy Cooper to lift his stay-at-home order
Protesters from Reopen NC gather to pressure North Carolina Governor Roy Cooper to reopen the State in Raleigh, last week
‘We are mostly business owners and employees that are losing our income and denied our right to provide for our families. We have come together to demand action from their elected officials,’ the group explains on their Facebook page.
In a Facebook post, Whitlock wrote, ‘I will take a stand every day until we are a free people again, to sound the alarm because someone has to do the right thing in the face of wrong.’
In her post, she wrote about how the restrictions put in place amid the COVID-19 pandemic were violating her First Amendment rights as well as her 5th and 14th Amendment rights.
She said she was ‘forced’ to quarantine which violated her First Amendment rights.
‘I’m not responsible for other people’s choices. I’m for personal liberty,’ fellow organized Ashley Smith, left, told a local television station
‘The reality is that modern society has not been able to eradicate contagious viruses. A typical public health quarantine would occur in a medical facility. I have been told not to participate in public or private accommodations as requested by the government, and therefore denied my 1st amendment right of freedom of religion,’ Whitlock wrote.
She went on to say that ‘It has been insinuated by others that if I go out, I could be arrested for denying a quarantine order.’
Organizers told WRAL News that ReOpenNC would be focusing their next rally on the state legislative building.
Meanwhile, Smith claims that despite Whitlock contracting the virus, nobody from the local health department bothered to reach out to trace her contacts or to ensure she was sticking to her quarantine.
Protesters from a grassroots organization called Reopen NC gather to pressure North Carolina Governor Roy Cooper to reopen the State in Raleigh, North Carolina last week
Similar groups were known to be operating in Illinois and Michigan with the goal of ending the lockdown
‘It was never handled as something as serious as what our governor is perpetrating,’ she said.
ReOpen NC is promising to hold rallies in Raleigh every Tuesday until the governor’s restrictions are lifted which have now been extended until May 8.
A total of 306 deaths in the state are being blamed on the virus, according to the Department of Health and Human Services.