Coronavirus lockdown protesters drive through Virginia capital

Protest organizers say the economic fallout will be worse than the virus fallout

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Protesters are driving by the Virginia state capitol in Richmond on Wednesday to protest their state's coronavirus stay-at-home order.

Gov. Ralph Northam, a Democrat, issued a the order until June 10, the longest in the nation, even though Virgina doesn't even rank in the top ten states with the most virus cases.

FACEBOOK REMOVES EVENTS THAT DEFY SOCIAL DISTANCING GUIDELINES

"It’s becoming more and more apparent that staying out until June 10 will do far more damage than this disease ever could in the commonwealth of Virginia," David Britt, one of the protest organizers, told FOX Business.

Britt, who lives in Fairfax County, said he's seen his friends' livelihoods dry up because of the pandemic. He's worried small businesses in his state won't be able to reopen and their owners will be stuck with the financial ramifications for years to come.

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Unlike some protesters in other states, Britt doesn't want lockdown to disappear immediately.

"We obviously can’t just flip a switch tomorrow," he said. "We need to plan. ... We need to be mindful of the disease."

The protest comes on the same day that Virginia state legislators are meeting to reexamine the state budget in light of the pandemic. Lawmakers gathered in a giant tent to allow for social distancing.

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Britt hopes all of the protesters who join him care about social distancing as well and encourages them to stay in their cars so they don't "hamper the message," he said.

Anti-lockdown protests have popped up in at least 25 states with both Republican and Democratic governors as U.S. unemployment claims skyrocket.

Many protesters have not kept at least six feet apart while picketing, however. Kentucky reported its largest daily spike in virus cases on Sunday, days after protesters gathered at the state capitol. It's unknown whether the spike was due to the gathering.

Virginia state Sen. Thomas Norment, top center, gathers his caucus in a tent to prepare to reconvene the legislature's session at the Science Museum of Virginia on April 22 in Richmond (AP Photo/Steve Helber, Pool)

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Facebook and Eventbrite said it will remove posts and other content that encourage people to gather in defiance of government health guidelines. Although Facebook said it removed posts after consulting with state governments including New Jersey and Nebraska, many governors' offices were quick to distance themselves from the idea.

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