Instead of bracing for a weather event, some businesses throughout the United States have begun battening down the hatches in preparation for Tuesday’s expectedly stormy Election Day.
After the rash of riots and unrest in the country since last spring, storefronts from New York City to San Francisco have taken protective measures to shield themselves from possible vandalism and looters, responding to the election results from the heated race between President Donald Trump and his Democratic challenger, former Vice President Joe Biden.
“High-end Manhattan retailers like Bloomingdale’s, Nordstrom, Saks Fifth Avenue, Louis Vuitton, Bergdorf Goodman, Dolce & Gabbana and Tourneau have also boarded up their storefronts,” the New York Post reported on Monday.
The Post covered Monday’s media conference with Mayor Bill de Blasio, who said there weren’t any “specific reports or specific threats at this point.”
“Everyone, of course, is concerned about the election results and what plays out after. But I want to emphasize, at this moment, we don’t see a specific challenge,” the mayor said. “We are ready for all sorts of challenges. A lot of preparation has been happening over the last few weeks.”
“There’s plenty of situations where the city of New York and the NYPD have to handle huge, huge numbers of people, so we’re prepared,” de Blasio added. “We’ll be ready for anything.”
The Post began reporting on a flurry of activity among New York businesses on Friday, when stores in Soho and Greenwich Village began nailing up store windows to ready for potential unrest on Tuesday.
Other stores that began taking precautions in the city’s Chelsea neighborhood on Oct. 31 included Ann Taylor, Bed Bath & Beyond and Staples, the Post also reported.
Gucci, Tiffany, Dior and Levi’s were other retailers that were boarded up already as they went about their business on Monday.
A store employee from Warehouse Wines and Spirit told the Post on Monday that while the store planned to remain open on Tuesday, the business boarded up its windows after it was one of many ambushed in New York City during the summer riots.
“Police had warned shopkeepers in neighborhoods that are usual protest hotspots to take extra precautions before the election,” the Post described a police official as saying.
However, the Post clarified, “the NYPD did not tell businesses to board up their stores, but left it to the discretion of the owners.”
“The NYPD talked to many segments of the business community this week and advised that businesses in or in the area of location that have historically been protest targets, Washington Square and Union Square for example, and gave them advice to take extra precaution,” the official also said.
Assistant Chief Stephen Hughes sent a letter to businesses on behalf of NYPD Manhattan South advising that police in the neighborhoods encompassing 59th Street and those under that would take precautions to “prevent pedestrian overflow” on Election Day.
The safeguards police planned to employ would be “similar to those utilized during major planned events such as New Year’s Eve, Macy’s July 4 Fireworks and Thanksgiving Day Parade,” Hughes wrote in the letter.
The Post briefly touched on the measures that San Francisco businesses had also already taken by Monday.
The San Francisco Chronicle reported on Friday that businesses in the city had started upping their own defenses.
According to the Chronicle, the The Union Square Business Improvement District estimated that by Sunday 75 percent of the businesses in the area would have fortified their buildings with plywood.
“San Francisco police have canceled discretionary days off for officers, anticipating needing more personnel,” the paper reported.
Additionally, the Post reported that in Washington, a “non-scalable” barrier is under assembly around the perimeter of the White House.
— Harve Jacobs (@policereporter) November 2, 2020
Harve Jacobs, a reporter at the station, said Sunglass Hut’s manager told him he did not want to take any chances after the store’s windows were smashed during the city’s day of unrest back in May.
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