KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WATE) – Protesters gathered outside of West Town Mall on Sunday afternoon in favor of reopening the economy.
The goal of the protest was to express frustration with the continued closure of Tennessee’s economy. There were nearly 100 people present, the group made up mostly of small business owners and furloughed employees. They say their constitutional rights are being infringed upon.
“We’re letting our politicians know that they work for us, and we’re reminding them that they better not tread on our Constitution,” said Cindy Christian, an attendee of the rally.
Ashley Massengill atteneded the rally with her husband Matthew. They say this matter is personal for them and their family.
“My husband has been furloughed. He’s in the tourist industry. And at this point if we don’t open up, there is no tourist industry. They won’t be furloughed anymore. They’ll just be laid off. We have five kids. What are we supposed to do? We’re not going to depend on the government. I will not live in a country like that,” Ashley said.
Taylor Turner is a small business owner. She says this has not only impacted her business but her employees as well.
“I’m a small business owner in Knoxville and we’ve been growing and trying to improve the Vestal area and because of all this it’s really taken a downside and families that we’ve employed have to take a downside,” Taylor said.
Although Tennessee will be under a stay at home order until at least the end of the month, some are making it clear, they don’t think measures like that are necessary.
“I just want people to wake up. Open their eyes look at what’s really going on. The number of cases don’t actually line up with a pandemic as they’re calling it and it doesn’t require a shut down. If you’re scared, stay home.” said Matthew Massengill.