Around two dozen people gathered outside Mayor London Breed’s Lower Haight home on Sunday afternoon to protest city shelter-in-place restrictions that they say are hurting small businesses and violating civil liberties.
The group members, many of them not wearing masks, marched in a circle in the street chanting “Open SF Now” and holding signs that said “Earning a living is a human right” and “Lockdown is voodoo science.”
San Francisco and other Bay Area counties imposed a shelter-in-place order on Sunday Dec. 6 in response to rising COVID-19 case loads that officials feared could swamp hospital intensive care units. The move was made in advance of a state-ordered shelter-in-place order that would have taken effect when hospital bed capacity dropped below a certain threshold.
Jennifer Raub, an advertising writer and San Francisco resident, said the group did not disagree that The City needed to “take steps” to curb rising COVID-19 cases, but was concerned by the recent closures of outside dining and some nonessential businesses and the economic burden it was placing on workers.
“They’re low income, they’re middle class, they’re average employees, the people who just want to earn a living, feed their families, maybe buy some Christmas presents for their kids,” Raub said. “I think for us unless we have really great data for why this kind of closure is going to create meaningful impact on this spread, we really need to change our approach to one that starts to become a little more balanced, fair and holistic for the people of San Francisco.”
While flyers for the event did not specify who was organizing it, many of the marchers carried signs that included the web site wehaverights.com, which is associated with the Orange, California-based nonprofit Advocates for Citizens Rights. That group shares an office with Advocates for Physicians Rights, a group that lobbied actively against 2019 legislation making it harder to get medical exemptions from vaccinations.
The Advocates for Citizens Rights web site features a number of videos of attorney Leigh Dundas, who acted as a spokesperson for last year’s anti-vaccine campaign and has more recently been seen speaking at anti-mask protests in Orange County and publicly attacking the credentials of Orange County Health Officer Nicole Quick.
Mayor Breed did not come outside during the protest and it was not clear that she was home.