From LA’s Rodeo Drive to New York’s Fifth Avenue and Chicago’s Magnificent Mile, retailers are fearing post-election unrest—and they’ve boarded up their stores and hired extra security.
According to Washington Post, two days before election day, workers arrived on Rodeo Drive “to board up every one of the roughly 70 posh boutiques and high-end properties lining the upscale Beverly Hills strip. They planned to work until midnight and barricade Rodeo Drive to vehicles and pedestrians for two days, all in anticipation of Election Day.”
To outside observers, this is astonishing. US elections have always been seen as straightforward. The results are in shortly after Election Day, the losing candidate concedes a few hours later, and a new president is inaugurated in January the following year.
This year’s US election, however, is different.
With Democratic candidate Joe Biden ahead in polling leading into Election Day and armed supporters of President Trump harassing Biden’s campaign bus in Texas last Friday, retailers are bracing for chaos.
In New York, Tiffany, Saks Fifth Avenue, CVS, Target and Macy's have boarded up their windows, according to CNN. “Stores around the country were damaged this summer, and merchandise was stolen during protests over the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis. Retailers are hoping to prevent this from happening again.”
CBS New York reported New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio saying the city is prepared for protests to break out after election and that the police department will step in “if things turn violent.”
President Donald Trump has been casting doubts on the integrity of the election and fraud trough mail-in ballots. He made the same claim in 2016—an election he won against Hilary Clinton.
The Chicago Tribune also reported that stores in the city’s shopping district Magnificent Mile have boarded up their glass windows. “Between the civil unrest this summer, the coronavirus pandemic and a divisive election whose outcome may not be known Tuesday, business owners are weighing the prospect of further unrest in a way they haven’t during past elections, said Eric White, executive vice president at security firm Brosnan Risk Consultants.”
As of the evening of Nov. 2, 100 million Americans had already voted.
While Trump denied he would declare victory even if counting isn’t completed on Nov. 3, he told reporters in North Carolina, “I don’t think it’s fair that we have to wait for a long period of time after the election. As soon as the election is over—we’re going in with our lawyers.”
Banner photo from CNN.com