Utah business owners plan rally to reopen economy

(Kristin Murphy, KSL)



Estimated read time: 2-3 minutes

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SALT LAKE CITY — A rally in support of opening business and the economy back up in the Beehive State has been scheduled for the weekend.

Former police officer Eric Moutsos put the rally together. He admitted the virus is dangerous and a real concern, but said he feels we can take steps to stay safe, while allowing the economy to reopen.

Moutsos said he knows his stance on the matter may not be the most popular, but a lot of people don’t like being asked to stay inside in self-quarantine.

The effort to reduce the spread of coronavirus and keep people out of the hospital has been difficult on businesses and workers.

Moutsos said opening the economy back up would help people find work again.

“I believe that we have to take action as a people, and we can do it safely and responsibly,” he said.

While he agreed the threat of COVID-19 is very real, he said he worries the damage to the economy and to mental health could be worse in the end.

“Between suicide, between heart attack, between liver problems from alcoholism, and that’s directly related to deaths of despair,” he said.

He started the Facebook page Utah Business Revival and asked people have a socially distanced rally on Saturday, with each individual and family to stay at least seven feet apart.

“Purchase food from a struggling business in Salt Lake, and we’re going to have a picnic,” Moutsos said.

The focus of the rally, he said, is on small businesses, and their desire to get back to work.

“I own a small little solar broker company, and it’s wreaked havoc on us,” he said.

He said he’s also asking the government to stop mandating stay-at-home orders, something he said he knows he’s going to take a lot of heat for.

He’d also like Salt Lake City’s tip line for reporting violators shut down.

“To scare people in their house, that a neighbor is going to call on a neighbor, and have police presence come, is… it’s unacceptable,” he said.

Moutsos said he believes we can safely reopen the economy. He said it can’t be any worse than the crowds seen at some grocery stores.

“We hope that it’s going to bring hope to America right now, when things are really dark,” he said.

The rally has been scheduled for Saturday at 5 p.m. They’ll post the exact location on their Facebook page 30 minutes before.

Officials with the Salt Lake City Police Department said they want to allow the group their chance to protest. As long as the group maintains social distancing, they won’t intervene.

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