HARRISBURG, Pa. | Hundreds of protesters are gathering outside the state Capitol to demand that Gov. Tom Wolf reopen Pennsylvania’s economy.
The protest got underway Monday even as new social-distancing mandates took effect at stores and other commercial buildings.
Signs against Governor Tom Wolf, for Donald Trump and chants of, "Open PA, open PA, open PA," and frustration filled the area just outside the state capitol.
"I want him to open the state back up, this is ridiculous, if you're afraid of this thing stay home," said Tom Hassler.
Hassler of Berks County and his brother Chris are contractors and two of an estimated 1,000 people who hurried to Harrisburg for the "End the Shutdown" rally.
Cars lined State Street, blaring music and honking, and waving American flags. The goal: pressure Governor Wolf to re-open the state.
"I'm essential. I need to be able to take care of my family," Hassler said.
Some came armed with assault rifles, others masks, but not father of two young kids Steven Somonski, who's not afraid of catching the coronavirus.
"What, are we scared of of our own shadow? I've had diarrhea worse than COVID-19," he said.
While many came to protest, others came to profit. Several people were selling Trump and coronavirus swag.
"Trump 2020 5 bucks," a man yelled while holding Trump 2020 T-shirts.
"We are all anxious to re-open the state," Governor Wolf recently said.
Just last week Wolf laid out a general plan to reopen the state but without a hard timeline.
Some we spoke to in the crowd want things opened right away like flipping a switch. Others want a measured approach. They want to get back to work in May.
Health experts warn against coming back too early, spiking cases without a vaccine.
However, Samantha Perez wants immediate action.
"Are you not concerned about getting the virus?" WFMZ's Bo Koltnow asked her.
"No," she said. "I'll survive it. I will survive it."
Pennsylvania currently has over 1200 who haven't.
Meanwhile, both chambers of the Republican-controlled Legislature are planning to return to session, as Republicans push legislation that would take away some of Wolf’s power to determine which businesses must remain closed during the coronavirus pandemic.
Health officials say Pennsylvania’s COVID-19 death toll rose by 92 to 1,204. Statewide, more than 33,000 people have tested positive for the virus.