Normal protesters hold social distancing walk to support local businesses

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NORMAL, Ill. (WMBD) — Protesters gathered on the corner of Linden St. and College Ave. in Normal to protest for the reopening of businesses Friday.

The protesters who came to the “Open Our Community Social Distancing Walk” held signs to protest against the continued closure of non-essential businesses caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.

One of the protesters, Lori Brady, said they came out to support businesses in Illinois.

“We’re just here to support our small and large businesses in the state of Illinois so that we can all get back to work and get our economy going,” Brady said.

Protesters walked by Vitesse Cycle Shop, which is owned by Town of Normal Mayor Chris Koos. One protester, Elisabeth Gruber, said she wanted to know what made the mayors shop essential while others had to close.

“I am here to support the people that are trying to identify the fact that the Mayor’s bicycle shop is open but other businesses are not,” Gruber said. “What makes him an essential business and the others not.”

Vitesse Cycle Shop was prepared for protesters with a sign of its own.

Mayor Koos said he supported their right to protest but said he believed some of their premises were false and said bike shops are an essential business.

“Bike shops have been called an essential business and I think if people realized the number of people we work with that rely on bikes for transportation or wish to chose it for transportation, I think they would see a different picture of what we’re doing here,” Koos said.

Koos also said he and other Mayors in the region are working on plans to reopen local businesses.

“We’re trying to find the proper balance for what works in the region here, and we’re doing it methodically, and we’re going to do it on data-driven decisions,” Koos said.

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