By Marissa Perlman

SACRAMENTO (CBS13) — “Open up California” — that’s the message from hundreds of protesters who took over the capitol to protest the coronavirus shelter-in-place order.

“It’s been an emotional roller coaster, it really has,” said Sandy Bergman from Vacaville.

She showed up to “Operation Gridlock” Monday, for her son, who is a graduating senior in Vacaville.

“Let them walk safely, but let them walk,” she said.

As a result of the pandemic, her hours have been cut. Now she and her family will sell their house and move. Bergman, like hundreds, says she wants state leaders to end the shelter-in-place order.

“There’s a struggle with the virus, but there’s a struggle to survive on both ends of it,” said Bergman.

READ: Coronavirus Crisis: Dozens Protest Stay-At-Home Order In Sonora

“You’ve shuttered the economy and it’s going to be very hard to turn this back on,” said one protester. “It’s not a pandemic, its a panic-demic.”

This is one of many protests that have popped up in recent days across the nation. Protesters in the San Joaquin Valley held another “Operation Gridlock” protest in Manteca, with some calling the virus “manufactured.”

“I think it’s smart for a time but that time is done, this is just a flu” said protester Andrew Berflein.

The protest blocked traffic on streets around the Capitol, with dozens of law enforcement officers standing by, monitoring the event. There were no repercussions for not social distancing from the police.

Governor Newsom spoke to that during his press conference on Monday.

“If you’re going to protest, practice physical distancing,” He said.

READ ALSO: Gov. Newsom To ‘Open California’ Protesters: ‘If You’re Going To Protest, Practice Physical Distancing’

The permit for planned protests was granted by the Capitol Protection Unit from California Highway Patrol. The governor said he thought it was allowed based on protestors staying in their cars.

“My understanding is the protest that CHP has supported has social distancing, physical distancing, that was allowable on the basis of people being in their vehicles and not congregating as a group,” Newsom said.

The Sacramento rally was organized in part by a group of activists who protested a new state law restricting medical exemptions for vaccines that are mandatory for kids to go to school.

Marissa Perlman

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