ReOpen NC moving to their own Stage Two: helping local business fight Cooper’s orders

April 21 2020 -Ashley Smith Dan Bishop reopen nc protest
April 21, 2020, Raleigh - Ashley Smith of Reopen NC addresses the media along with Congressman Dan Bishop (R-09). Photo: A.P. Dillon

RALEIGH — ReOpen NC has decided they will forgo protests in downtown Raleigh for the foreseeable future and will instead concentrate on assisting businesses to fight Gov. Roy Cooper’s phase two order.

ReOpen NC co-founder Ashley Smith said on Saturday that beginning June 1 their group is moving to “Stage 2.” The group will support and hold events at other businesses who have reopened and are fighting Cooper’s order and enforcement threats from local officials.

“Our goal has always been: Reopen now. Reopen completely,” said Smith. “Fifty percent open is 50% closed. That is not good enough for us.”

“We have protested six weeks in a row,” said Smith. “The last protest on Memorial Day was huge — we had five cities and a total, I think, of 600-700 people that came out that day.”

The announcement came at a “sit-in” rally in support of Mike Pastelak of Patriot Axe Throwing located in Hickory, North Carolina. Pastelak is keeping his business open, in defiance of Cooper’s order and has filed suit against the governor over the stay-at-home orders. In an interview with FOX News, Pastelak, an army veteran, said he was trusted to serve his country, but not to run his own business. He also said that House Speaker Tim Moore and Senate Pro Tem Phil Berger are also named in his “bipartisan” lawsuit against Cooper’s orders.

Smith said they don’t need to go to Raleigh and yell at the governor’s mansion anymore.  Smith said, “He is hearing our voice from the sea to the mountains,” and “I bet than man is having dreams about us.”

“Stage 1” did what it was supposed to according to Smith. She said their protest efforts were successful in raising public awareness about the governor’s restrictions on business during the stay-at-home order and inconsistencies in the governor’s phase plan.

About A.P. Dillon 222 Articles
A.P. Dillon is a North State Journal reporter located near Raleigh, North Carolina. Find her on Twitter: @APDillon_