WACO, Texas (KWTX) About a dozen protesters turned out to Waco's Suspension Bridge Wednesday, rallying against citations given to local businesses and pushing for all to reopen.
"We are all essential people, our businesses are all essential," said organizer Kam Tonne. The rally was part of Waco Citizens Freedom Gathering.
Those who came held signs and flags, hoping to get their message across.
"I respect the fact the virus is real and it has affected people and that is terrible, but shutting down an entire economy and country," Tonne said.
She believes small businesses are being hit and says the government has been "overreaching."
Since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, businesses were forced to close as orders were put in place to help stop the spread of the virus.
Infamous Ink, a tattoo parlor in Waco, defied the orders, opening before Governor Greg Abbott gave the green light this week. In defying the orders, the shop collected citations. Those citations were fuel for the rally.
Kristofer Hunter says he has family and friends that have been hurt by the closings.
"They should be open. Nobody should stop them from being open. It's okay to put out guidelines, that's fine. But when you start telling (people) when they can and cannot work, nobody has the right to do that," he said.
Even with as the threat of the coronavirus continues, protesters say they want the power to choose what is right for them.
"Open the state.Open the country, let's get back to work," said Tonne.
"With no restrictions?"
"No restrictions," she replied.
On Friday, bars, bowling alleys, skating rinks, rodeo and equestrian events, zoos and aquariums will be allowed to reopen.
The governor has set a May 31 date for day and overnight youth camp operators and families and professional sports without in-person spectators.