Reopen Alabama Facebook group takes a stand against COVID-19 closures

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MOBILE, Ala. (WKRG) — A Facebook page made this week is now up to more than 5,000 members. It’s called Reopen Alabama. and some of its members told News 5 that’s exactly what they want.

Eric Johansen is an administrator of the group. He said, “At some point the economy turning down the way that it already has is going to hurt more people than the virus will ever hurt and for longer.”

He said that’s one of the reasons why he got involved in Reopen Alabama. He lives in Loxley and said he’s personally seen how much this economic shut down can hurt people. Johansen said, “I know two people that have attempted suicide. I know one person that I was just loosely connected to that succeeded. I know two people that are now homeless and really struggling.”

We asked Mobile Mayor Sandy Stimpson when the state could reopen, but he said it’s not his decision. He said, “That’s really controlled by the governor. …You know the mayors, we’re going to be doing what we’re doing because they control the trigger.”

In a little more than two days, there are more than 5,500 members of the group. Johansen said, “What that tells me is that there are a lot of people thinking along the same lines why Clayton and Daniel started this group in the first place.”

News 5 reporter Dana Winter sat down with Johansen and also Clayton Bodley, one of the group’s founders. Bodley is a college student in Pennsylvania who was forced to come back home to Alabama due to the Coronavirus pandemic. Bodley said, “We’re together in the reopening of the state.”

He said if the state does not reopen by May, the group plans on taking action. Bodley said, “The protest is our last measure of defense right now. We want to try to do everything as legally as we can by addressing Governor Ivey and our Senators and Representatives first and try to get them moving on this before we do anything else like that.”

The protest is planned for May 2nd. If you’d like to get involved in Reopen Alabama, CLICK HERE, or go to ReopenAlabama.com.

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