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World Boarded-up stores are another sign of election anxiety

00:05  03 november  2020
00:05  03 november  2020 Source:   vox.com

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Stores are being boarded up throughout the nation and the National Guard is preparing for activation. With election day now looming large, business owners in major cities including New York, Washington, DC, Los Angeles and Denver have boarded up their stores in the hope of avoiding

Stores in New York City have been boarded up and are taking extra precautions in preparation for potential unrest in the days surrounding Tuesday’s presidential election . Macy’s boarded up its Herald Square flagship on West 34th Street on Friday, and the Bloomingdale’s flagship on Lexington Avenue

Boards went up over windows around the country over the past week as businesses anticipated the potential for election-related unrest. Media outlets reported plywood going up in cities from coast to coast: Retailers in New York City, Chicago, Detroit, Denver, Long Beach, San Francisco, Charleston, Indianapolis, Dearborn, Boston, Sacramento, Las Vegas, St. Louis, Los Angeles, Portland, Dallas, and Washington, DC, all took part.

a sidewalk sign with a building in the background: Businesses across the nation boarded up and braced for the potential of violence following the 2020 election, which takes place on November 3. © Yegor Aleyev/TASS via Getty Images Businesses across the nation boarded up and braced for the potential of violence following the 2020 election, which takes place on November 3.

Observers posted images on Twitter:

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Most stores across major American cities are preparing for any untoward incident ahead of the November 3 US presidential elections . Photos of a Domino's outlet in Washington DC, covered with a wall of wooden panels, are going viral on social media platforms.

A Chanel store is seen being boarded up by workers in the SoHo section of New York City on Saturday morning. Washington DC: People prepare to board up a business in the nation's capital on Friday in anticipation of election unrest. In an interview with controversial right-wing radio host Alex


Gallery: Fearing election unrest, U.S. businesses are getting ready (Associated Press)

Ahead of the presidential election, workers with Baguer Construction LLC board up a Walgreens on U Street NW, Friday, Oct. 30, 2020, in Washington. The site manager said they had been hired to put protective coverings on several Walgreens throughout the city. (AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin)

It was an echo of images from the spring, when some of New York’s upscale stores boarded their windows as shelter-in-place orders were issued in an effort to stave off the coronavirus pandemic. And those images reappeared in the early summer when nationwide protests following the death of George Floyd at the hands of police officers sometimes turned violent, prompting business owners to protect property. Some of the businesses that experienced destruction of property months ago are now bracing themselves again.

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Saks Fifth Avenue is boarded up for extra security ahead of the general election in Beverly Hills, Calif., on Oct. In Chicago, several businesses along the Michigan Avenue shopping district have already boarded up their windows. Walmart, which said this week it would remove all guns and ammunition

Meanwhile, the industries that provide the boards are booming. Shain Jenkins, the manager of a hardware store near Seattle, told USA Today that plywood demand had surged nearly 40 percent.

The possibility for violence was also echoed in Walmart’s move on October 29 to remove ammunition and firearms from its displays in American stores due to “civil unrest.” The move seemed designed to discourage would-be violent actors from buying firearms. But the company reversed course on October 30, saying that the unrest had remained “isolated” and they would replace the displays.

Business owners’ nervousness about the election is unsurprising given the events of 2020 and the national mood. A USA Today/Suffolk University poll published on October 28 found that three out of four voters were worried to some degree that there could be violence on Election Day. Should former vice president Joe Biden win the election, only one in four said they were “very confident” in a peaceful transfer of power.

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Manhattan Stores Boarded Up Ahead of Election Day. Stores in Soho, Midtown, and other parts of Manhattan were boarded over the weekend as officials warned of the potential for protests and unrest following Election Day on November 3.Footage captured by Florian Seroussi shows luxury stores

a person riding a skateboard up the side of a building: A boarded-up Macy’s in Washington, DC, on November 2. © Yegor Aleyev/TASS via Getty Images A boarded-up Macy’s in Washington, DC, on November 2.

The perception is not unmerited, especially considering President Trump’s heightened rhetoric, repeated refusal to confirm that he would participate in a peaceful transfer of power, and his call for an “army” of poll watchers. And experts have sounded the alarm, saying that the country’s polarization carries with it a high risk of violence, depending on the election results.

But store preparations go beyond boarded-up windows. The New York Times reported on October 30 that in a videoconference held by the National Retail Federation (NRF), the world’s largest retail trade association, 120 representatives from 60 retail brands learned how to de-escalate customer tensions, including election-related situations. The NRF has hired security consultants to help its members predict which cities may be most volatile on Election Day and prepare accordingly.

Boarding-up windows once would have seemed extreme on an Election Day eve, but now it seems reasonable, especially nearing the end of a year of heightened conflict and politicization. Perhaps the best evidence of this comes in the fact that the NRF de-escalation training was originally developed to help retail employees deal with belligerent customers who refused to honor store policy and wear a mask. So whether the precautions are necessary or simply the product of an extraordinarily jumpy year and toxic political climate, they’re far from surprising.

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usr: 1
This is interesting!