Businesses board up, take precautions ahead of potential election-related unrest

Published: Nov. 2, 2020 at 10:28 AM CST
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(CNN) - A record number of Americans have voted early, but still more will turn out on Tuesday to cast their ballots.

As if a hurricane is coming, businesses across the country are boarding up. The perceived threat is far from normal for a modern American election.

After a season of charged political rhetoric and months of protests, including looting in some places, it’s the uncertainty of how people will react to the results of the presidential election that has business owners on edge yet again in 2020.

“It’s just precautionary,” said Nana Busi, partner at Caspi’s Jewelry, which has been in the same Los Angeles location since 1948. They’re closing shop until sometime after the election.

Busi can’t remember a time when she was concerned about an election result. “Never in my life. This is such a surprise. There is incredible chaos everywhere,” She said.

It’s chaos that Beverly Hills wants to avoid. Ritzy Rodeo Drive is completely blocked off until at least Thursday.

“We’re not mandating any businesses board up. We’re highly recommending that you harden the target,” Beverly Hills Police Lt. Max Subin said.

In Portland and Chicago, the police departments have canceled officers' time off for Election Day.

“The city has been in close communication with our business community,” Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot said.

Plywood covers storefront doors and windows in Raleigh, N.C., as it does in Denver, where the city is activating its emergency operations center, the first time for an Election Day.

“(It’s) 100% heightened awareness,” said Murphy Robinson, Denver public safety director.

The nation’s capital is doing the same. “We know that first amendment activities have potential to disrupt business operations,” Washington D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser said.

The closer to 1600 Pennsylvania Ave., the more palpable the concern. “I think that people, you know, want to get closer to the White House to be able to express their concerns and their feelings,” said Angela Allred, manager of Imperial Wine & Spirits.

In New York City, officials are preparing for protests. “If anything turns violent, we are going to move to stop that immediately,” Mayor Bill de Blasio said.

The Big Apple should be gearing up for the now re-imagined Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade due to COVID-19, the windows of Macy’s flagship Manhattan store usually a draw unto themselves. Instead, the store is all boarded up.

In the time of coronavirus, it’s a different kind of protection during an unprecedented election.

“We really hope people don’t protest violently,” said Will Cook, president of Howard Lorton Furniture and Design.

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