Michigan’s governor said she believes the people who flooded the streets to rally against the state’s coronavirus lockdown could end up prolonging the stay-at-home orders they were protesting.

Gov. Gretchen Whitmer said she was “really disappointed” to see so many of the protesters who swarmed the Michigan Capitol Building in Lansing Wednesday not taking protections like wearing masks.

“I saw someone handing out candy to little kids barehanded,” the governor told reporters. “We know that this rally endangered people.”

If her fears prove true and the mass gathering helped intensify the spread of COVID-19, it would only “prolong” the lockdown that “Operation Gridlock” was protesting, she said.

“The sad irony here is that … they don’t like being in this stay-at-home order and they may have just created the need to lengthen it, which is something we’re trying to avoid at all costs,” Whitmer insisted.

The protest drew an estimated 3,000 to 4,000 people, about 150 of whom demonstrated on the Capitol steps or main lawn, said Michigan State Police spokeswoman Shanon Banner.

Virus Outbreak Michigan
People take part in a protest for “Michiganders Against Excessive Quarantine” at the Michigan State Capitol in Lansing, Michigan

Paul Sancya/AP

US-HEALTH-VIRUS-PROTEST
People take part in a protest for “Michiganders Against Excessive Quarantine” at the Michigan State Capitol in Lansing, Michigan.

Jeff Kowalsky/Getty Images

Virus Outbreak Michigan
Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer

AP

US-HEALTH-VIRUS-PROTEST
People take part in a protest for “Michiganders Against Excessive Quarantine” at the Michigan State Capitol in Lansing, Michigan.

Jeff Kowalsky/Getty Images

US-HEALTH-VIRUS-PROTEST
People in their vehicles protest against excessive quarantine orders from Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer.

Jeff Kowalsky/Getty Images

Protesters against the state's extended stay-at-home order demonstrate in Lansing
A man holds an American flag as hundreds of supporters of the Michigan Conservative Coalition gather in Lansing, Michigan.

Seth Herald/REUTERS

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Whitmer, a Democrat, extended a stay-home order through April 30 and has shut down schools and businesses deemed non-essential. The governor acknowledged the pain but stressed she was “trying to save lives here.”

With Post wires