A small group gathered at the Capitol on Friday, May 1, a day ahead of a larger planned rally on Saturday, May 2, in support of reopening Oregon. (Amanda Loman/Salem Reporter)

A small group staged a rally outside the closed Capitol on Friday, May 1, urging a change in state restrictions put in place in March because of the coronavirus outbreak.

They gathered shortly after Gov. Kate Brown announced steps being taken by the state to prepare for an easing of "stay home" rules that have closed schools and some businesses and limited public gatherings. She said a statewide consortium of hospitals would manage expanded testing for COVID-19 to help determine when areas of the state could reopen.

Brown said some rural areas of Oregon could reopen by May 15 - if county officials had plans in place to identify and treat those with the virus and requirements for social distancing even as businesses such as restaurants opened up to customers.

The rally Friday was a prelude to the "Reopen Oregon Rally" scheduled to start at noon Saturday and being hosted by a group calling itself Oregon Uniting for Liberty. Its Facebook page on Saturday morning tallied nearly 900 people as going. The group urged people - "when possible" - to observe social distancing measures by staying six feet apart.

"For those who are high risk or who interact with these who are high risk, we strongly encourage them to heed the CDC guidelines and take the appropriate measures to protect themselves and those who are vulnerable," the group posted.

"This is a PEACEFUL event. If you're looking to stir up trouble, stay home! We can have civil discourse on points of disagreement but it needs to remain civil and respectful," the group wrote. - Les Zaitz

A small group of protestors gathered at the Capitol on Friday, May 1, a day ahead of a larger planned rally on May 2 in support of reopening Oregon. (Amanda Loman/Salem Reporter)

Ashley Brown, left, and Cindy McNutt of Coos Bay hold up signs along Center Street in support of reopening Oregon in a small rally on Friday, May 1. (Amanda Loman/Salem Reporter)

A small group gathered at the Capitol on Friday, May 1, a day ahead of a larger planned rally on Saturday, May 2, in support of reopening Oregon. (Amanda Loman/Salem Reporter)

A small group gathered at the Capitol on Friday, May 1, a day ahead of a larger planned rally on Saturday, May 2, in support of reopening Oregon. (Amanda Loman/Salem Reporter)

A small group gathered at the Capitol on Friday, May 1, a day ahead of a larger planned rally on Saturday, May 2, in support of reopening Oregon. (Amanda Loman/Salem Reporter)

A small group gathered at the Capitol on Friday, May 1, a day ahead of a larger planned rally on Saturday, May 2, in support of reopening Oregon. (Amanda Loman/Salem Reporter)

A demonstrator waves a flag in support of reopening Oregon along Center Street in Salem on Friday, May 1. (Amanda Loman/Salem Reporter)

A small group gathered at the Capitol on Friday, May 1, a day ahead of a larger planned rally on Saturday, May 2, in support of reopening Oregon. (Amanda Loman/Salem Reporter)

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