The Nov. 03 presidential election is just a few days away – and for weeks – we’ve outlined security consultants, insurers, contractors, and even employees of retailers confirmed businesses are boarding up shops and increasing security measures ahead of Tuesday night.
Earlier this week, the looting and social unrest in Philadelphia following the fatal police shooting of a black man could be an eye-opener of what’s to come after the elections. Demonstrations started peacefully on Monday and Tuesday but quickly went downhill as mobs of people looted stores in the city.
The fact that law enforcement officials across the nation have been preparing for widespread violence on election night and after should be troubling to ordinary business owners with brick and mortar presence in metro areas.
For more color on the rising fears of social unrest next week, Harmeet Dhillon, a civil rights attorney and former California Republican Party vice chairwoman, tweeted that shops in San Francisco “are boarding up this week in anticipation of opportunistic rio-looting. Some thugs got started early at Coach earlier this week, which was boarded up today.”
Shops in San Francisco’s now-joyless shopping destination, Union Square, are boarding up this week in anticipation of opportunistic rio-looting. Some thugs got started early at Coach earlier this week, which was boarded up today. pic.twitter.com/LJteTo1t72
— HKD (Harmeet K. Dhillon) (@pnjaban) October 30, 2020
On Wednesday, the San Francisco Business Times posted a photo of the Salesforce Tower, which was also boarded up.
“Bracing for potential violence after next week’s election, several landlords near Salesforce Tower and Union Square freshly boarded up their storefronts this week,” the Times said.
Marc Intermaggio, executive vice president at BOMA San Francisco, who represents businesses in the metro area, said owners who have already boarded up their shops are just taking “precautionary” action ahead of the election.
“Just pre-election precaution against any civil unrest,” Intermaggio told the Times. “Protecting private property.”
Many businesses in the downtown and Union Square area were boarded up during the virus pandemic and George Floyd protests, but recently had plywood boards removed as reopening plans were beginning. However, much of that could be in reverse with virus cases surging and threats of unrest next week are elevated.
“Given the heightened attention and emotion around this year’s election, many businesses out of an abundance of caution are boarding up their entrances and windows in case of public unrest or protests across the political spectrum,” said Karin Flood, head of the Union Square BID. “Given events of this past spring and summer, it is not an unexpected precaution.”