GRAND HAVEN, Mich. — Protestors gathered at Grand Haven State Park Saturday to speak against the park’s decision to close its parking lot earlier this month because of coronavirus concerns and Michigan’s ongoing stay at home order.
Organizers called it the “Grand Haven Beach Bash,” and offered music, games, and food to the few dozen people in attendance.
Unlike the Lansing protests, people were not carrying guns, but did not follow other recommended guidelines like wearing a mask and maintaining six feet of distance between them and others outside their immediate family.
The protest remained peaceful according to a spokesman from the Michigan Department of Natural Resources.
“It’s just disgusting,” said Brandon Hall, organizer, when talking about the park’s decision to shut down the parking lot. Hall is also with West Michigan Politics, a conservative news blog.
Under Michigan’s stay at home order, state parks are open, but at the beginning of May, Grand Haven State Park officials closed its parking lots citing, ‘overwhelming crowds ignoring physical distancing requirements.’
On Friday, DNR announced the parking lot would reopen May 22 for Memorial Day weekend.
Hall says that’s a step in the right direction but believes it should’ve never happened.
“Anyone else can get into the beach however they want to, but when you shut the parking lot down, it hurts the most vulnerable, the elderly, the disabled,” said Hall.
Hall says they continued the rally because it’s still a sign that some Michiganders are upset with other restrictions in place from the state’s order.
“I came here to show my support,” said John Strauss, an attendee.
Strauss says it’s time for Michigan to open up in what he calls a reasonable way.
“We’re all adults here,” said Strauss. “We’ve already been through bootcamp on how to be safe, wear our masks, wash our hands, not breathe in our faces, so go ahead, do that and open our shops.”
“It’s just very ill though out,” said Diane Baum. “I’m here supporting the constitution.”
FOX17 reached out to a group counterprotesting the rally but did not hear back.
The Ottawa County Department of Public Health was also contacted regarding an email the department sent Hall on May 8 saying he would face a $500 fine for serving food and drink without a license if the rally happened. The department has not responded to a request for comment and Hall says he has not received a fine as of Saturday evening.