Mounting tension as businesses in Colorado, Michigan defy orders and reopen

"Nightline" speaks to the owners of a Colorado restaurant and a Michigan barbershop, both of which defied state orders and reopened. Health officials warn there are risks to reopening too soon.
9:28 | 05/15/20

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Transcript for Mounting tension as businesses in Colorado, Michigan defy orders and reopen
In Wisconsin last night, a packed bar, normally unremarkable. But these aren't normal times. My employees haven't been paid now in two months. Ly I had to look out for their families and my business. This video shot hours after the state supreme court struck down the governor's order. If people have an issue with social distancing, they should be able to be, you know, they can stay separate or stay at home. The debate over when and how to loosen restrictions is pitting rising unemployment rates and personal freedom gems the country's approach to fighting the virus. I think it's a combination of economic interests. It shouldn't be one side against the other, how do we marry all of these interests together. Americans overwhelmingly support mitigation measures they're asked to take. 78% saying it's necessary to stay at home as much as possible. States are free to make their own decisions about reopening, but the white house guideline is toave a 14-day downward trajectory of documented cases. ABC analysis shows only 11 out of 45 states currently easing restrictions meet that criteria. Warnings to congress about the risk of reopening. The consequences could be really serious. There is no doubt even under the best of circumstances, when you pull back on mitigation, you will see some cases appear. Without better planning, 2020 could be the darkest winter in modern history. The fastest way to get Americans to do something is to tell them they can't. Cheers and applause. Thank you for being open! Newly-minted heroes of the movement to reopen the economy. Yay! Woo-hoo! The Colorado couple defying state orders last weekend, opening their restaurant for mother's day. Video of a packed crowd inside the c&c cafe quickly going viral. My colleague, Clayton Sandell sitting down with the couple. Did you consider having people social distance or wear masks or anything like that? We did, and outside there we had our patio spaced out. I worked all afternoon spacing everything out in every angle. And then everyone came. Reporter: They estimate 500 people came to their restaurant Sunday. A lot of people saw that video and wondered what were you guys thinking? We were thinking that people want to be free. Free from government. That's what the constitution's for, to protect us from the government. Do you worry, though, do you have any concerns, losing any sleep over the idea that maybe when all those people were in here they were transmitting this virus to other people. You know, people are adults, right? You're an adult. And we're adults, and I can say we have the choice to make our own decisions in life, whatever that may be. Lots of other restaurants here in Colorado are still following the rules. Right. What makes you guys special? We're not special. We're just like them. You know what it is, we made a choice. They have the choice to obey what the government's guidelines are. And we had a choice to not obey. Their decision getting the attention of their governor. I love my mom too much to put her at risk to take a selfie with omelets and a mimosa. What did you think when you heard him say that? I didn't hear him say it, honestly. I didn't hear it until now. We've been busy. We've been working. On Monday, the health department shutting down the cafe. The supporters still coming out taping money to their front door. God chose you to be our representative to do this. I hope so. Is all of this worth it? When I see people like this out here it's worth it. It's worth it to get a chance. Why? We love people. They have hired an attorney who says they may face fines and jail time. Whattive noticed about this family is they're a prayerful family. They're listening to all kinds of people. I think when the time is right, they'll make the decision think need to make. And don't know what that will be. In Michigan, the state with the fourth largest number of covid-19 deaths, one of the most robust stay-at-home orders in the nation, a standoff. Drawn by county lines. Here, in Michigan, the life-long barber reopened his shop in defice of the state lockdown. My bills were beginning to stack up. This is my livelihood. I couldn't do this anymore. Ly to maintain my work ethic, my dignity. All I want to do is be a simple guy in Michigan and make my living. Quarantine-weary customers stand in solidarity, waiting for a seat in his barbershop. For one thing, I need a haircut, terribly. And some support. I think he's one of the few to try to stand up against the governor's edicts, you know. ? This week a circuit judge refused the order to shut down his shop. He's facing misdemeanor charges and had his license suspended by the state on Wednesday. I till you, it's pretty mean-spirited. I say it's pretty tyrannical to take a man's livelihood. Still, Manke isn't backing down, becoming a folk hero among those who resist and resent Gretchen Whitmer's orders. I'm 77. What's the worst they can give me. I got one foot in the grave and the other on a banana peel and I could care less. Protesters in the rain at the state capital echoing defiance. Michigan united for liberty, calling their protest judgment day. End the lockdown, now! Adam Deang LI is the spokesman. The main objective is to spend a message to the governor, end the lockdown. It's had the effect of rousing the public and they're working. Last month, shocking scenes of heavily-armed protesters storming the capital. Heightened tension escalating the threat of violence. Ahead of today's protest, Facebook removing the private group for violating their policies. Michigan's governor Gretchen Whitmer criticizing the protesters on "The view" saying they were endangering public health. The fact of the matter is, these protests, in a perverse way, make it likelier that we're going to have to stay in a stay at home posture. All across the world, countries are grappling with reopening society. In Paris, glimmers of hope on Monday when people were allowed to leave their homes without a permission slip for the first time in 55 days. Haircuts and fresh beignets at the top of Parisian to-do lists. But new clusters have emerged. And that tells you that even some of the best responses still, you know, are having difficulty controlling this epidemic. In Seoul, South Korea where social distancing restrictions were easing up after case numbers declined to a few a day, 140 tested positive after people visited a nightlife area. Over 10,000 who may have been infected tested. But that number not anything coming close to the testing numbers in Wuhan, China. An ambitious plan to test all 11 million residents after finding the first cluster of cases in a month. It's really all about being evidence-based and taking it slowly. In the U.S., there's still no streamlined or federally-mandated solution, leaving the tensions between empty pockets and potential illness to grow. We're social animals, and people won't stay locked down. It's how you open up. And I think people need to be well-informed and well grounded in a sensible fear of this virus to figure out how best to go forward. 2.9 million more Americans filed for jobless claims last week, making the total number of people unemployed by the pandemic more than 36 million.

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