A convoy of truckers protesting Covid-19 measures is expected to arrive in the DC area this weekend. Here’s what we know

Protesters, with members from at least three individual convoy groups, are expected to arrive in Washington, DC, throughout the coming weekend.

While Covid-19 warrants are already down across the country due to falling infection numbers, protesters are still showing up with demands.

Here’s what you need to know about them:

Who participates in convoy groups?

Several groups from across the country are taking part in the protest, with a few main convoys, including the “people’s convoy”, which traveled the country from California and are expected to arrive on Saturday.

The group, which has nearly 300,000 Facebook followers, will include truckers as well as others such as doctors, teachers and pilots.

Another group, which has named itself the “American Freedom Convoy” and includes members primarily from the Midwest, is also heading to Washington, DC, but is late and will arrive around March 7.

It is not known how many people or trucks will participate in the convoys.

What do the protesters want?

There is a common demand coming from participating convoys: an end to Covid-19 mandates, including mask and vaccine requirements.

“The average American worker needs to be able to weather the economic woes of the past two years and get back to baking bread,” the People’s Convoy’s said. said in a press release.

“To that end, it’s time for elected officials to work with America’s blue-collar and white-collar workers and restore accountability and freedom by lifting all mandates and ending the state of emergency — because COVID is well in hand now, and Americans need to get back to work freely and without restriction.”

Organizers told CNN the protest would be tame and “legal,” and the group had no plans to emulate Canada with roadblocks, confrontations or other disruptions.

“The People’s Convoy will respect agreements with local authorities and end near the DC area, but will not go into DC proper,” the group said.

The people’s convoy said it was distancing itself from other groups that might have other, less peaceful plans.

The participating “American Freedom Convoy” told CNN it had no intention of being violent, but hinted it could happen if law enforcement “sends in troops to prevent protests.”

Law enforcement is preparing for possible disruptions

Virginia State Police issued a traffic advisory for Virginia throughout the weekend, warning drivers to prepare for “potential convoys of commercial and passenger vehicles affecting traffic in and around the National Capital Region.”
“The Virginia State Police respects the public’s First Amendment rights and has been in contact with organizers of various groups to ensure they understand Virginia traffic laws,” police said. noted.

Maryland State Police are also monitoring the situation and plan to position additional soldiers to “deal with any violations of the law” and help move traffic.

“Agencies will allocate additional personnel and resources based on analysis of the situation to keep our roads safe and minimize potential traffic disruptions throughout the region,” police said in a statement obtained by WJLA, a CNN affiliate.

The DC Homeland Security and Emergency Management Agency sent a message Thursday to local businesses and faith-based community partners warning them of the disruptions due to the protests.

“As a result, vehicular traffic may be affected, and businesses and other organizations may experience delays to inbound and outbound deliveries and employee access during this time,” “Please exercise caution if driving in affected areas and expect delays in reaching your destination. If possible, delay travel in these areas or consider using Metrorail.”

Police may close certain roads to “minimize the impacts of these protests” and will provide updates when they occur.

Covid-19 rules lifted as case numbers drop

As the number of new Covid-19 cases and hospitalizations slowly decline, cities and states are easing requirements for vaccines and masks.

Covid-19 hospitalizations are lower than they have been for most of last year, with the US now averaging 55,701 new Covid-19 cases per day, according to Johns Hopkins University , a 26% drop since last week and the lowest cases since late July.

There are 41,014 people currently hospitalized with Covid-19, a 23% drop from last week. Current hospitalizations are now about a quarter of what they were at the peak in mid-January and are lower than they have been for most of the past year.

American truckers are frustrated with more than Covid-19

Due to declining Covid-19 cases, hospitalizations and deaths, mask mandates and passport rules for vaccines have plummeted across the country in the past few days and week, as authorities locals have changed their rules based on the drop in Covid numbers.

More recently, in New York, the state waived most mandates and mask requirements to show proof of vaccination for indoor activities.

A growing number of states – the majority with Democratic governors – have announced in recent weeks that they will lift their indoor or school mask mandates, including California, Connecticut, Delaware, Illinois, Massachusetts, New Jersey, Oregon and Rhode Island.

According to new CDC guidelines, more than 70% of the population is in a place with low or medium levels of Covid-19. In these areas, masking is not necessary unless an individual is at “increased risk” for Covid-19 and if so, the CDC recommends speaking to your health care provider about wearing of a mask.

Even in some counties with “high” levels of Covid-19, such as states like California, Illinois, Oregon and Washington, mask mandates are being lifted.

According to CDC guidance updates, people in counties with low or medium Covid-19 community levels no longer need to wear masks indoors unless they are immunocompromised or “ high risk” of severe Covid-19 and if so, the CDC recommends speaking to their healthcare provider about wearing a mask.

CNN’s Paula Newton, Jacqueline Howard and Virginia Langmaid contributed to this report.

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