Public Protests

Yes, as explained below, although in-person protests present special public health concerns. 

Even with adherence to physical distancing, bringing members of different households together to engage in in-person protest carries a higher risk of widespread transmission of COVID-19.  Such gatherings may result in increased rates of infection, hospitalization, and death, especially among more vulnerable populations. In particular, activities like chanting, shouting, singing, and group recitation negate the risk-reduction achieved through six feet of physical distancing. For this reason, people engaging in these activities should wear face coverings at all times.

Therefore, it is strongly recommended that those exercising their right to engage in political expression (including, for example, their right to petition the government) should utilize alternative channels, such as the many online and broadcasting platforms available in the digital age, in place of in-person gatherings. 

However, the local Health Officer orders do not prohibit in-person protests as long as (1) the protest occurs outdoors, (2) attendance is limited to 25% of the relevant area’s maximum occupancy, as defined by the relevant local permitting authority or other relevant authority, or a maximum of 100 attendees, whichever is lower, and (3) physical distancing of six feet between persons or groups of persons from different households is maintained at all times. Failure to maintain adequate physical distancing may result in an order to disperse or other enforcement action. Face coverings are required pursuant to the State Order for Face Coverings.

Participants must maintain a physical distance of six feet from any uniformed peace officers and other public safety personnel present, unless otherwise directed, and follow all other requirements and directives imposed by local health officers and law enforcement, or other applicable authorities.

This limitation on attendance will be reviewed as the state continues to update its guidance on political protest gatherings. This review will assess the impacts of these imposed limits on public health and provide further direction as part of continued restoration of gatherings that implicate the First Amendment.

Last Updated 07/09/2020 - 16:44

There are many ways for you to express your political views without holding a physical, in-person gathering.  For example, you may continue to call or write elected officials, write letters to the editor of news publications, display lawn or window signs, or use online and other electronic media (including Zoom rooms, Twitter feeds, Facebook pages, and other digital forums) to express your views.  

You may now leave your home for many qualifying reasons as long as you do not gather with people who are not members of your household (unless they are part of your "Social Bubble").  When you are otherwise out in public, public health directives do not prevent you from engaging in political expression—such as by wearing or carrying a sign.

Whenever you are considering a protest, make sure you comply with all applicable laws, including both local and statewide public health measures.  The more restrictive of the laws will be the law that applies.

If you do wish to engage in in-person protest with a group of any size, you must follow the guidelines for outdoor political protest gatherings.

Last Updated 07/09/2020 - 16:46