Store Owners Prepared for 2020 Election

Madilynn Cook, Staff Writer

tore owners in Los Angeles, New York, Chicago, and other cities prepared for the US election. They’re ordered crowd-control barricades, plywood to board up windows, and putting contractors on standby so they’re available if needed. They also audited their security systems and requesting more guards.

Frustrations have run high in US cities, primarily due to the Black Lives Matter protests. Some demonstrators and opportunists have smashed shop windows and looted, most notably in June 2020 during the protests that followed the police killing of George Floyd.

Many stores, especially those full of expensive luxury goods, have reacted by blocking off their windows with plywood and enhancing other protections. Now with a tense election nearing, they took preemptive steps to prepare for the turmoil that could last days.

So far, the measures aren’t as widespread as those during the height of the Black Lives Matter protests in the US. ServiceChannel says it received more than 4,000 work orders for board-ups in just over a week spanning the end of May and the beginning of June. But the precautions show the risks companies anticipate around the election, the outcome of which could take days or more to emerge.

For businesses already struggling because of the pandemic, it’s an added burden. Boarding up a store thoroughly can cost more than $5,000, and even up to $20,000 for a large store, according to ServiceChannel. On the other hand, the price of damaged property and stolen goods can be high.

In August, sneaker retailer Foot Locker reported that costs across its stores connected to “recent social unrest” totaled $18 million that quarter.