Election Day 2020: Businesses Brace for Potential Unrest
Downtown Minneapolis businesses boarded up earlier this summer. Caitlin Abrams

Election Day 2020: Businesses Brace for Potential Unrest

Storefronts throughout the metro area have installed plywood barriers over windows and doors in case of election-related fallout. Business groups seek to allay concerns.
Downtown Minneapolis businesses boarded up earlier this summer. Caitlin Abrams

“One thing is sure — no one knows what will happen.”

So began a Tuesday morning email from the Uptown Association.

As voters in Minneapolis line up at the polls for the presidential election, some small business owners appear to be bracing for the worst. Regardless of the outcome, various groups have already scheduled rallies for days after the election. But business groups around town, meanwhile, are taking steps to reassure their members. In the email, the Uptown Association noted that the Minneapolis Police Department’s fifth precinct is increasing staff throughout the week.

“They are prepared for a variety of scenarios, including civil unrest, with tactical teams in the field, and a multi-agency command center is in place, which will bolster response time,” the association said. “Some planned protests are scheduled for Wednesday and Thursday by groups which have been historically peaceful.”

For some businesses, plywood boards are going back up over doors and windows. Along Grand Ave. in St. Paul, a few stores began installing plywood this week, the Pioneer Press reported. In Minneapolis, stores along Nicollet Mall have also begun boarding up windows, according to KSTP. Of course, dozens of businesses around the metro have kept boards up since unrest earlier this summer.

“There are many businesses that have never unboarded since the last civil unrest, unfortunately,” said Jill Osiecki, the Uptown Association’s executive director. “But honestly, the message is, we’ll get through this.”

The association has also set up a text line for local businesses. The plan, Osiecki said, is only to use that line in case of emergencies.

Results for the presidential vote vary greatly state by state. But, in Minnesota, it’s likely that “many, if not most of the results of races will be known on election night,” MinnPost reported.