Chicago businesses are anticipating possible civil unrest when the Presidential Election results come out.
Shoppers will likely be perusing their favorite haunts behind boarded-up windows or not at all on Tuesday, November 3 as many businesses have taken extra safety precautions in case things turn ugly on Election Day. Shops all over Chicago including the Disney Store and Ralph Lauren have boarded up windows and announced earlier closing times so they can shut up shop safely before the evening and give employees extra have time to vote. Some stores, including J. Crew and Canada Goose, will not open at all on Tuesday, and Chase is closing all bank branches early.
Chicago Tribune reported that there were 16 Cook County Board-Up crews out on Monday as the unmistakable sound of drills filled the streets helping to secure buildings from potential fires, break-ins, and accidents. Crews worked all over Chicago throughout Monday, November 2, and will continue to operate through Tuesday, November 3. Some stores like Macy’s covered their State Street Store windows with blackboards as early as Friday, October 30. The chain reportedly said it was adding security measures at many of their stores “out of an abundance of caution.”
Many international chains along Milwaukee Avenue in Wicker Park like Foot Locker and Dr. Martens have used plywood to block off their window while the retail corridor around Clybourn Avenue on the city’s North Side has the majority of its storefronts already securely covered.
Clybourn Avenue was hit hard by vandalism in the civil unrest that broke out following George Floyd’s death at the hands of Minneapolis police earlier this year and with the Coronavirus pandemic and a heated election race business owners aren’t taking any chances.
Tweets and videos were also shared on Monday, November 2 that showed what looked like National Guard entering Chicago and pulling into McCormick Place. Mayor Lori Lightfoot responded by sharing a tweet claiming that the National Guard had not been deployed but that “Chicago Police will increase its patrol” and that “stationed personnel” were ready and waiting at McCormick Place. She also released a safety plan that hopes to keep the peace this week but businesses have evidently taken their own initiative.