The city denied his request to use Diamond Park citing the time of rally directly following the Memorial Day ceremony and road construction around the Diamond as safety concerns. McHenry said that adversely affected crowd size. Governor Wolf's announcement the county will move from yellow to green phase at the end of the week was another factor, McHenry admitted.
Representative Mike Kelly attended and spoke. He said he made the 45 minute trip up from his home because he thought it was important.
A few speakers mentioned getting push back from some about the appropriateness of holding the rally on Memorial Day. "Why not hold it on Memorial Day? Members of our military gave their lives in support of the constitution and bill of rights, and our freedom. What our government is doing today diminishes their sacrifices. Are we to shut down free speech and debate? Under the government's mandates, we cannot even congregate in groups in excess of 25 people to pay homage [on Memorial Day.]
As for the rally and a projected crowd of over 200 in attendance, Meadville City manager Andy Walker said that matter of free speech and assembly cannot be denied. McHenry cited his lawyer for insuring the rally was given the permit to go on.
McHenry addressed the governor's re-opening announcement late last week. "Should never have been closed in the first place. The only reason he is taking action now is because of the growing protests against his policies."
Local business owners also spoke out against the governor's orders. Don Ott of Voy River's BBQ in Linesville said that "now you're going to hear from those of us who a have skin in the game." He talked about the economy and how the shutdown is causing prices of meats and supplies he needs to run his business to skyrocket.