Protesters in Ephrata ask governor to ease restrictions

| May 1, 2020 4:26 PM

EPHRATA — About 60 people gathered on the lawn of the Grant County Courthouse to ask Gov. Jay Inslee to ease restrictions on movement and business he imposed to combat the COVID-19 outbreak.

Organizer Franchesca Simpson said she has family members who are seeing severe financial impacts from the shutdowns. She knows people who have lost jobs and been affected by the business shutdowns, she said, but have not been able to access unemployment benefits or business loans.

“I’ve seen how it’s affecting people,” Simpson said.

Simpson said the crowd at the protest gathered by word-of-mouth.

Grant County Prosecutor Garth Dano was among the people listening to the speakers, was asked to speak and accepted.

“I didn’t know this was going on out here,” Dano said, and that he was proud of people exercising their rights.

He said Grant County officials have written letters to Inslee, asking for an easing of restrictions, and that he has called Inslee’s office.

“We ask the governor, respectfully, to open Grant County,” Dano said.

Other speakers urged people to help and look out for family, friends and neighbors, urged people to vote, and to learn more about the coronavirus.

- Cheryl Schweizer