By David Loomis
INDIANA — At noon Friday, a caravan of cars and trucks circled a largely shuttered downtown business district, honked horns and displayed hand-lettered signs in support of local entrepreneurs struggling through an ongoing global public-health quarantine.
Event organizer and shop owner Tammy Graham Curry led the parade at the wheel of a heavy-duty pickup truck wearing a red-and-black plaid lumberjack shirt over a black-and-white T-shirt that read “Straight Outta Toilet Paper.”
In social media posts on Thursday, Ms. Curry asserted the “We CARE-avan Cruise” was “NOT political.” But it was “bipartisan.” And in other posts she expressed opposition to Gov. Tom Wolf’s strict closure rules on non-essential businesses under emergency powers COVID-19 pandemic.
In Harrisburg, meanwhile, Gov. Wolf announced relaxation of restrictions on shops and businesses in 24 largely rural counties beginning next week. Indiana County was not among them.
Earlier in Harrisburg, Republican lawmakers backed a party-line bill unsuccessfully challenging the governor’s business-closure orders. State Rep. Jim Struzzi, R-Indiana, voted for it. So did state Sen. Joe Pittman, R-Indiana.
Both lawmakers, among other local officials, attended the May Day car-cruise. Some wore masks. Some didn’t.
NATIONALLY, large majorities of Americans support stay-at-home measures and non-essential business closures.
In downtown Indiana on Friday, car-cruise participants honked horns vigorously on the procession’s first pass. Other traffic was not impeded. A second pass a few minutes later was shorter and muted.
Across Philadelphia Street from the closed county courthouse, a couple waved at the dozen-car parade and snapped cell phone photos of the first pass. At the corner of Eighth and Philadelphia streets, a masked borough police Chief Justin Schawl observed the westbound procession.
On the convoy’s second swing around the block, the couple and the chief had moved on. In 10 minutes, the procession had passed.