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States Prepare for Armed Protests Following Attack on U.S. Capitol

Preparing for the potential for violent protests in the days leading up to the presidential inauguration on January 20, state officials call in National Guard troops, erect towering fences, and close Capitol grounds in response to the warning of the FBI that armed protesters could be capital cities across the country.

A New York Times survey of all 50 states found at least 10 – California, Oregon, Michigan, Wisconsin, North Carolina, Washington, Kentucky, Maine, Illinois and Florida – that activate National Guard troops in their capitals. Texas, Virginia and Kentucky are among the states that plan to close their Capitol lands at various times in the coming days.

Some states where legislatures are preparing to meet, such as New Mexico, have placed protective fences around their capitals. Michigan and Indiana have made the extraordinary decision to cancel their legislative activities next week due to the possibility of violence.

Actions taken by state officials underline growing fear of continued violence in the country following last week’s popular attack on the U.S. Capitol in which assailants back the president’s efforts Trump to overthrow the presidential election broke into the building.

“If you are planning to come here or to Washington with a bad intention in your heart, you must turn around now and go home,” Ralph Northam, Governor of Virginia, said at a press conference Thursday. “You are not welcome here and you are not welcome in our nation’s capital. And if you come here and play, Virginia will be ready.

Virginia officials took the unusual step of closing the Capitol Square grounds on Monday in Richmond, where an event called Lobby Day is held annually to allow people to meet elected officials. An estimated 22,000 people attended the event last year, many of whom were gun rights activists. This year, in addition to the closure of Capitol Square, authorities canceled permits for gatherings scheduled for Lobby Day.

An example of the volatility of the situation emerged in Florida on Friday, where the FBI arrested former U.S. Army infantryman Daniel Alan Baker, 33, from Tallahassee, the state capital. Mr. Baker “specifically called on others to join him in surrounding protesters and confining them to the Capitol compound using firearms,” ​​the FBI said in an arrest report.

Tallahassee mayor John Dailey on Friday called on Florida Governor Ron DeSantis to activate the National Guard in preparation for the weekend’s protests. Shortly after, Mr. DeSantis, a Republican, announced that he was activating the Guard “in response to reports of potential civil unrest.”

Concerns are particularly acute in Michigan, where Governor Gretchen Whitmer has activated the Michigan National Guard to assist with security around the State Capitol in Lansing. The move follows the flooding of the Michigan Capitol last year by armed extremists protesting the state’s coronavirus restrictions.

Fourteen people have been indicted in Michigan on charges of terrorism, conspiracy and weapons. At least six of them, officials said, had developed a detailed plan to kidnap Ms Whitmer, a Democrat who has become a focal point of anti-government views and anger over the coronavirus control measures.

In Lansing, a six-foot-high fence has been erected around the State Capitol and the windows of state office buildings have been barricaded to guard against potentially violent protests that are expected Sunday and Wednesday.

The state legislature, which has just held its first session of the year and is scheduled to meet several times next week, canceled those sessions after hearing of “credible threats” received by state police from Michigan.

The increased law enforcement presence will continue at least until mid-February, Michigan State Police Director Col. Joe Gasper said. He declined to reveal how many other police and National Guard members would be in place to guard against the violence.

Yet not all states see the need for increased security. In North Dakota, for example, Kim Koppelman, a Republican who is the speaker of the state House of Representatives, said, “Suffice it to say that security is in place and adequate to meet all the challenges expected. . “

“No major changes have been implemented in response to riots, property damage and attacks in the country last year, or in response to the violence on the US Capitol last week,” Koppelman said.

But other states are taking different steps. California Governor Gavin Newsom on Thursday authorized the deployment of 1,000 National Guard troops and surrounded the grounds of the State Capitol in Sacramento with a six-foot chain-link covered fence to “prepare for and respond to” credible threats ”.

In Illinois, Governor JB Pritzker activated 250 members of the National Guard in response to FBI warnings about potential armed protests, in addition to the 300 Illinois troops already activated in support of the inauguration in Washington.

Illinois officials have said their goal is for the soldiers to help local authorities enforce designated street closures and perimeters.

“Our Soldiers and Airmen come from every community in Illinois, and each has sworn to protect their communities, state and nation,” said Maj. Gen. Rich Neely, Illinois adjutant general and commander of the Illinois National Guard.

Shawn hubler, Mitch smith, John yoon, Michael hardy, Alex Lemonides, Jordan allen and Alyssa Burr contributed to the reporting.

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Are you traveling to (or returning to) the United States? Prepare to take a coronavirus test

According to a CDC order, airlines must comply with these rules to receive clearance to disembark passengers in the United States.

The CDC says negative results must come out of a test that can detect an ongoing infection, picking up pieces of the pathogen itself. Two types of tests fall into this category: molecular tests (which include PCR tests) and antigen tests. (Antibody tests, which can only determine if someone has been infected in the past, don’t count.)

Molecular tests look for segments of the virus’s genetic material, or RNA. The most common molecular tests rely on a proven technique called polymerase chain reaction, or PCR – a gold standard in the diagnosis of infectious diseases. PCR tests can be expensive, and because they require samples to go to labs, it can take a few days to return results. Experts say it’s a good idea to plan ahead if you go for this type of test.

There are a few rapid molecular tests that can be performed from start to finish in a doctor’s office in minutes. These include Abbott’s ID Now test. They are considered to be less accurate than PCR-based tests, but will allow you to get answers faster.

Antigen tests look for pieces of coronavirus protein or antigens. They tend to be less accurate than molecular tests and are worse at detecting the virus when it is rare. But most antigen testing can be done very quickly and inexpensively, taking just a few minutes to produce results.

Some antigen tests are only allowed for people with symptoms and may more frequently give inaccurate results when used to screen people who feel healthy.

Depending on the country travelers are departing from, some tests may not be available – and, therefore, these new rules will likely make it significantly more difficult for people to enter the United States. Testing is typically offered by health care providers or community testing sites, which can be located through tourist bureaus and local health care providers. Some airports, like Heathrow in London, offer coronavirus testing on site. And a few airlines, like American, Jet Blue, and United, offer to help their customers in certain countries organize tests. Delta, for example, has partnered with the Mayo Clinic and national health authorities in several countries to facilitate the testing and travel process.

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As Georgians prepare to vote, Trump’s interference sparks criticism

ATLANTA – On the eve of the Georgian Senate run-off, a senior state election official on Monday condemned President Trump for his false allegations of electoral fraud and made an emotional appeal to Georgians to ignore the disinformation of the government. president and cast their ballots Tuesday in a race that will determine control of the Senate.

The official, Gabriel Sterling, ticked off a point-by-point rebuttal of Mr Trump’s grievances over his loss in Georgia to Joseph R. Biden Jr., which the president aired more recently over the weekend during a call telephone with the Secretary of State. Brad Raffensperger, another Republican. Mr. Trump pressured Mr. Raffensperger during the conversation to “find” votes to reverse his general election defeat.

“I wanted to scream,” Sterling said at an afternoon press conference, referring to his reaction to the call between Mr. Trump and Mr. Raffensperger. Mr Sterling, responsible for implementing the state’s voting system, said the president’s fraud allegations had been “completely debunked”.

“Personally, I found that this was something that was not normal, out of place, and no one I know who would be president would do something like that to a secretary of state.

His harsh rebuke provided the most vivid example of how Mr. Trump’s sustained assault on Georgia’s electoral integrity rocked state policy ahead of Tuesday’s run-off. Even as Mr Trump prepared to campaign in northwest Georgia on Monday night for the two Republican incumbents, Kelly Loeffler and David Perdue, party officials feared his unsubstantiated claims of a rigged election would reduce the rate. participation among their base.

Both the president and Mr. Biden were making last-minute efforts to influence the outcome of the two second-round races that decide not only which party will control the Senate, but also the arc of Mr. Biden’s first-term political platform. If the two Democratic challengers, Jon Ossoff and Rev. Raphael Warnock, both win, the Democrats will control the White House and both houses of Congress.

At his Monday night rally in Dalton, northwest Georgia, Mr. Trump recycled his baseless claims that he had been the victim of voter fraud, and he vowed to keep fighting. “It was a rigged election, but we are still fighting, and you will see what will happen,” he said. Mr Trump also called Tuesday’s vote “one of the most important polls in our country’s history” and praised Mr Perdue and Ms Loeffler.

Democrats were trying to rob the White House, he told the crowd, so they couldn’t afford to let them rob the Senate.

He repeated his false claim that he won “by a landslide” and said he hoped Vice President Mike Pence would “come in our place”, a hint of Mr Pence’s role as President. of Congress when it met to certify Mr. Biden. victory Wednesday. “He’s a great guy,” he said of Mr. Pence. “Of course, if he doesn’t pass, I won’t like him that much.

Traveling to Atlanta late Monday afternoon, Biden made no direct mention of Mr. Trump’s phone call, but obliquely criticized the president’s strongman tactics.

Speaking to a few hundred supporters flared on the hoods and roofs of their cars in a downtown parking lot, Mr Biden said Mr Trump was absorbing a hard lesson in democracy.

“As our friends in the opposition are finding out, all power comes from the people,” the president-elect said, adding that politicians could not “take power”.

Dressed in a black mask emblazoned with the word ‘VOTE’, Mr Biden urged the multiracial public of Georgians to do just that.

“It’s not hyperbole, you can change America,” he said.

That was the heart of Mr Sterling’s message and he implored voters to go to the polls on Tuesday. “If you are a Georgian voter, if you want your values ​​to be reflected by your elected officials, I beg you and strongly encourage you, go and vote tomorrow,” he said. “Don’t let anyone put you off. Do not suppress your own vote. “

Hours before Mr. Trump’s appearance in Dalton, many of his staunch supporters defended his phone call to Mr. Raffensperger.

Neal Fitzgibbons of Kennesaw said the president just wanted the secretary of state to “take a very close look at all the irregularities that we have seen.”

Mr. Fitzgibbons quoted many of the same refuted claims the president made.

“Things were questionable, if not outright theft, and should be looked into,” he said.

Visits from Mr. Biden and Mr. Trump have increased the intensity of the races that have already become the most expensive Senate contests in U.S. history. Including the campaign before the second round, more than $ 469 million was spent in the Perdue-Ossoff contest, according to the Center for Responsive Politics, and more than $ 362 million was spent in the Loeffler-Warnock race.

As they did throughout the race, Republicans continued to warn on Monday of a dramatic slide into far-left socialism if Democrats take control of both Congress and the White House.

And Democrats argue that Mr. Trump has sought nothing less than to quash the will of the electorate and undermine democracy with his appeal to Mr. Raffensperger.

Earlier today, Mr Pence amplified the Republican message during a visit to a mega-church in Milner, central Georgia.

Standing in front of an image of an American flag and two screens that read, ‘DEFEND THE MAJORITY,’ Mr Pence said: ‘We need Senators David Perdue and Kelly Loeffler to block the agenda of the radical left in Washington, DC ”as the crowd broke in chanting both“ Four Years Older ”and“ Stop The Theft ”.

Mr Pence did not mention the president’s phone call on Saturday to Mr Raffensperger, which was first reported by The Washington Post. A number of legal scholars have said the president may have violated state and local laws, although they also said criminal prosecution would be unlikely.

Nonetheless, Georgia election officials had received at least two official calls on Monday to investigate Mr. Trump’s violation of state laws.

In an appearance Monday in Conyers, an eastern suburb of Atlanta, Mr. Ossoff, the head of a video production company that challenges Mr. Perdue, sought to draw parallels between Mr. Trump’s phone call and Georgia’s long history of voter suppression and denial of the right to vote.

“The President of the United States on the phone trying to intimidate Georgia election officials into rejecting your votes,” Ossoff told a rally of volunteers preparing to pick up. “Let’s send a message: don’t come to Georgia and try to waste our voting rights.”

Among grassroots Democrats, the president’s phone call only added to their anger and desire to push senators who have so closely aligned with Mr Trump to resign.

Hillary Drummond Simpson, a retired elementary and middle school teacher, said she was puzzled at the support the president still had. “I don’t understand,” she said. “I don’t understand what they look for in a leader.”

Verdaillia Turner, who was at Conyers to help with prospecting, said she believes the president’s strong tactics could help Democrats gain momentum. “It’s like a beautiful and perfect storm, and all eyes are on us,” said Ms. Turner, President of the Georgia Teachers’ Federation.

Ms Loeffler, a wealthy businesswoman confronted by Mr Warnock, deflected questions about Mr Trump and his phone call as she campaigned in the state before joining the president on Monday evening. “My only goal is tomorrow, January 5,” she said at an Atlanta-area airport.

During the rally on Monday evening, and earlier in a tweet, Mrs. Loeffler said she would join a dozen U.S. senators on Wednesday to vote against certification of election results granting victory to Biden.

Mr Perdue, who has been quarantined due to possible exposure to the coronavirus, appeared on a Fox News broadcast on Sunday evening where he said he did not believe the president’s campaign to pressure Mr. Raffensperger would affect the election.

Mr. Perdue blamed Mr. Raffensperger for the leaked recording of the hour-long conversation.

He also defended Mr. Trump’s claims about voter fraud. “What the president said is exactly what he said the last few months, which is the last two months anyway, we had some irregularities in the November elections and he wants to some answers. He has not yet obtained them from the Secretary of State.

Although Georgia has suffered from a number of problems in the administration of the elections in recent times, with long queues, delayed results and technical issues, some election officials expressed confidence in the smooth running Tuesday’s elections.

Fulton County officials said 370,000 ballots had already been cast there. Without specifically mentioning Mr. Trump, Fulton County Chief Electoral Officer Richard Barron addressed an “audio recording late yesterday” in which Fulton County was mentioned more than a dozen times.

In the Strip, Mr. Trump has made a number of allegations about Fulton County voter fraud, including allegations of what he called “ballot stuffing.” Mr Raffensperger’s office said those allegations were examined and dismissed as unfounded.

“There has been a lot of misinformation out there,” Mr. Barron said. “We don’t have the resources to answer all of them. And we focused on preparing for tomorrow and conducting the elections in a legal and fair manner. “

At his press conference, Mr Sterling spent some time reviewing numerous individual false statements made by the President or his attorneys. They claimed that thousands of votes were cast in Georgia by people under the age of 18, not registered to vote, registered late or registered with a post office box instead of a residential address. The secretary of state’s office has investigated the allegations, Sterling said, and found no ballots cast by anyone in any of those categories.

He added that Mr. Raffensperger does not have a brother named Ron who works for a Chinese tech company, as one of the plots retweeted by the president claims.

In fact, Mr Sterling said, Mr Raffensperger does not have a brother named Ron at all.

Richard Fausset and Rick rojas reported from Atlanta, and Maggie Astor from New York. Reporting was contributed by Astead W. Herndon from Dalton, Georgia, and Stephanie Saul and Shane Goldmacher from New York.

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As Georgians prepare to vote, Trump’s interference sparks criticism

Ms Loeffler, a wealthy businesswoman confronted by Mr Warnock, deflected questions about Mr Trump and his phone call as she campaigned in the state before joining the president on Monday evening. “My only goal is tomorrow, January 5,” she said at an Atlanta-area airport.

Monday evening, Mrs. Loeffler tweeted that she would join the dozen U.S. senators on Wednesday to vote against the certification of election results granting victory to Mr. Biden. “I will vote to give President Trump and the American people the fair hearing they deserve and I will support the objection to the electoral college certification process,” she said.

Mr Perdue, who has been quarantined due to possible exposure to the coronavirus, appeared on a Fox News broadcast on Sunday evening where he said he did not believe the president’s campaign to pressure Mr. Raffensperger would affect the election.

Mr. Perdue blamed Mr. Raffensperger for the leaked recording of the hour-long conversation.

He also defended Mr. Trump’s claims about voter fraud. “What the president said is exactly what he said the last few months, which is the last two months anyway, we had some irregularities in the November elections and he wants to some answers. He has not yet obtained them from the Secretary of State.

Although Georgia has suffered from a number of problems in the administration of the elections in recent times, with long queues, delayed results and technical issues, some election officials expressed confidence in the smooth running Tuesday’s elections.

Fulton County officials said 370,000 ballots had already been cast there. Without specifically mentioning Mr. Trump, Fulton County Chief Electoral Officer Richard Barron addressed an “audio recording late yesterday” in which Fulton County was mentioned more than a dozen times.

In the Strip, Mr. Trump has made a number of allegations about Fulton County voter fraud, including allegations of what he called “ballot stuffing.” Mr Raffensperger’s office said those allegations were examined and dismissed as unfounded.

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A medical examiner has fought to prepare his county for the virus. Then he knocked.

Paulette Anderson of Hammond, Wis., A member of the St. Croix County Supervisory Board, said tensions over the pandemic response have intensified in the county, particularly in recent months. This week, the council considered an ordinance that would have tightened restrictions on businesses and made masks mandatory in indoor public places. It was rejected by nine votes to 10.

“It really became a divisive factor,” Ms. Anderson said. “I believe in wearing a mask and social distancing. I think you shouldn’t go into a business without a mask. But a lot of people don’t feel that way, and these people don’t want to be told what to do.

As more people in St. Croix County fell ill with the coronavirus this fall, Ms. Schachtner struggled with demands from her staff. The five death investigators now work 12-hour shifts four days a week and spend 36 hours a week on backup. A staff member had to self-quarantine because of a spouse with coronavirus.

Her own candidacy for re-election to the State Senate came in November, but Ms Schachtner did not organize election events or knock on doors, fearing it was not safe practice; his Republican opponent won easily.

Last week, Ms Schachtner sent a note to local funeral homes, some of which were at full capacity, telling them they could use the refrigerated truck for their dead. The number of infections and deaths from viruses in the county was quickly turning gloomy.

“It was like a snowball,” she says. “All of a sudden the reality of what everyone was saying was going to happen was happening. And I feel like it was almost like people were like, ‘I never thought that was going to happen and that it really is. ”

Then the virus reached his own family.

Ms Schachtner’s sister-in-law, about to undergo surgery, underwent a routine coronavirus test which came back positive. In the following weeks, other members of the family followed: a brother-in-law, a sister and a niece, who was an aide in the retirement home where her father, Richard Rivard lived.

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Prepare for cold weather racing

If you do decide to try adding screws, Greg Haapala, Race Director of Grandma’s Marathon in Duluth, Minnesota, recommends trying it on old running shoes first and making sure the tips of the screws do not enter your foot. “You can just wear older shoes like your ‘screw-on shoes’, or once you know they’ll be comfortable for you, remove the screws from the old shoes and clip them to your newer ones,” he said. -he declares.

Haapala wears trail running shoes, which tend to have better traction, when running on snowy streets and sidewalks in winter. He also wears sunglasses “even though it’s not very sunny to block the winds and potentially blowing snow,” he said.

Jay Ell Alexander, owner and CEO of Black Girls RUN !, a group dedicated to getting more African American women into the race, wears disposable hand warmers, which are commonly sold in drugstores and drugstores. hardware stores. “I keep a bunch of them in the trunk of my car,” she said.

You will still need to hydrate yourself on long runs in the winter. You can carry water in a portable bottle, but this hand can cool down quickly. Instead, consider a running belt with slots for water bottles or a hydration vest. Just make sure this vest is race specific, not designed for hiking or biking.

If you always work from home and have flexibility in your home work schedule, winter running doesn’t need to be on a cold, dark morning or a cold, dark night. Midday errands can be an option, especially since your coworkers can’t tell if you’re sweaty when you return.

However, if those dark hours are still the best time for you, make sure that “you are lit up like a Christmas tree,” Loeffler said. This is especially important “when the weather is not great because most people don’t expect runners to come out,” she said. “They are not looking for you.”

Loeffler said that a simple reflective vest “feels good” as long as it’s reflective in the front and back. You can also buy lighted belts and belts, or clip-on lights (the ones that work on riders will work on you as well). She also said that her store had seen a big increase in sales of headlamps this year, which also served as lighting for the path in front of you.

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Undeterred by pandemic, Americans prepare to deliver verdict on Trump

The voters were full of nervous energy. New Jersey high school history teacher Katie Whelan crossed the Pennsylvania border to knock on doors this weekend for Mr Biden at the key battlefield. The night before, she said, she had woken up from a dream of panic involving Hillary Clinton and the fear of just running out of the ballot boxes. “She was like, ‘Honey, I’ve been there,’” Ms. Whelan recalled to Ms. Clinton telling her in the dream.

Adding to her anxiety, Ms Whelan couldn’t tell if the nightmare was in 2016 or 2020. “I stood over the sink and drank three gallons of water,” Ms. Whelan said. “And I was like, ‘I better do some canvassing.'”

For Mr. Trump and Mr. Biden, their final events of the last full day of the 2020 campaign offered as vivid a demonstration of their differences as anything they have said.

Seeking to project a sense of normalcy even as the number of cases of infection soars, Mr. Trump flouted public health guidelines with a series of large rallies in North Carolina, Pennsylvania, Michigan and Wisconsin, and even winked at the dismissal of the country’s top infectious disease expert. , Dr. Anthony S. Fauci, should he win another term, in a Florida rally that lasted after midnight Sunday.

In Ohio and Pennsylvania, Mr Biden argued that there can be no return to routine until the virus is under control and his route of socially distanced remote rallies – “Honk if you agree with me! ” he yelled at Cleveland – served as a visual expression of his sober approach. Mr Biden, the former vice president, presented the race as a referendum on Mr Trump’s handling of a pandemic that has infected more than nine million people in the United States and claimed more than 230,000 lives.

“The first step to beating the virus is to beat Donald Trump,” Biden said, adding, “The power to change the country is in your hands.”

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Closed Windows and Increased Security: Retailers Prepare for Election

Nordstrom, the high-end department store chain, said it plans to move up to some of its 350 stores and hire additional security for election day on Tuesday. Tiffany & Company, the luxury jeweler, said that “the windows of some stores in key cities will be closed in anticipation of possible election-related activity.” Saks Fifth Avenue said it was “implementing additional security measures in some locations in the event of civil unrest due to the ongoing elections.”

In Beverly Hills, the police said they would Take a “proactive approach” and shut down Rodeo Drive, a renowned gang of luxury retailers, Tuesday and Wednesday, citing the likelihood of increased “protest activity”. Police, working with private security firms, said they would also be on “full alert” across Beverly Hills from Halloween through election week.

The nation is on the cutting edge of technology as the bitter presidential competition finally draws to a close, the latest flash point in a deadly year that has included the pandemic and widespread protests for social justice. Concern has been mounting for months that the election result could lead to civil unrest, whoever wins. In the retail industry, many businesses aren’t just worried about possible chaos – they plan for it.

To show just how volatile the situation seems for the industry, 120 representatives from 60 retail brands attended a video conference this week hosted by the National Retail Federation, which involved training for store employees on how to defuse tensions between clients, including those related to the election. The trade group also hired security consultants who prepared retailers on areas across the country likely to be the most volatile when polling stations close.

“I’m over 50 and I didn’t think I would live to see this,” said Shane Fernett, who owns a subcontracting business in Colorado Springs, Colo., And who sources plywood for his. retail business. customers. “You read about it in third world countries, not America.”

For the retail industry, 2020 has been filled with bankruptcies, store closings and plummeting sales as tens of millions of Americans grapple with job losses due to the pandemic. Protests against police violence against black citizens sent millions to the streets, demonstrations that in some cases turned into looting and burning of shops in several cities. Concerns over the unrest around the election were stoked by President Trump, who declined to say whether he would agree to a peaceful transfer of power if his Democratic challenger, Joseph R. Biden Jr., was victorious.

Protests erupted again this week after Walter Wallace Jr., a black man with mental health issues who carried a knife, was killed by police in Philadelphia. This sparked looting and clashes with police in parts of the city. Citing civil unrest in Philadelphia, Walmart said Thursday it was removing all of its firearms and ammunition from retail outlets across the country. Walmart said on Friday it was handing over its arms to the sales floor after determining that the unrest incidents “have remained geographically isolated.”

This year, companies have already suffered at least $ 1 billion in insured losses due to looting and vandalism largely caused by the murder of George Floyd by a Minnesota police officer in May, according to an estimate cited by Insurance Information Institute, an industrial group.

This is predicted to be the costliest period of civil unrest in history, possibly exceeding the damage caused by the 1992 Los Angeles riots and numerous civil rights protests of the late 1960s.

Keep up with Election 2020

The situation in 2020 drew comparisons to the protests of the 1960s, but Derek Hyra, associate professor in the School of Public Affairs at the American University, said recent unrest had been more widespread geographically, affecting a wider range. companies.

“Most of the riots and fires in the 1960s occurred in the geography of low-income black spaces,” Hyra said. “In the unrest of 2020, more has happened downtown and in wealthy areas.

“It’s not just urban America,” he added. “The protests took place in the suburbs, in the rural areas.”

Protecting properties from potential damage is not a simple decision. Retailers may risk alienating their customers by erecting plywood, especially if the anticipated troubles do not materialize.

“You send a message when you do this,” said Stephanie Martz, general counsel for the National Retail Federation. “You don’t necessarily want to engage in this kind of grim forecasting.”

Some large companies keep their plans vague.

Target, which has approximately 1,900 stores, said in a statement: “Like many companies, we take precautionary measures to keep our stores safe, including giving our store managers advice on how to take care of their teams. ”

A spokesperson for CVS, which operates nearly 10,000 stores, said: “Our local management teams are empowered to take the actions they believe will best ensure the safety of our stores, employees and customers. This includes the possibility of boarding in certain stores. “

Gap Inc., which has more than 2,000 stores in North America, said it has “contingency plans in place for any issues that may arise and will continue to monitor the situation closely and close next week ”.

Behind the scenes, however, many companies are making explicit preparations.

Tom Buiocchi, who runs an online platform called ServiceChannel that connects retailers with local entrepreneurs in cities across the country, said more than 500 stores have filled out work orders to board or take other protective measures before. the elections.

He said he had discussions this week with a group of luxury retailers who were reluctant to be the first to take visible precautions. “No one wants to be the only one to embark on a community; it may be off the mark, ”Buiocchi said.

Some retailers have debated whether erecting signs would make it more of a target. Others are taking action like buying screws for plywood different from the ones they used in June, in the hope of outwitting the looters with screw guns. Business on-boarding costs can range from a few hundred dollars to $ 31,000 for large stores with window displays.

For those stores that will remain open through election night and the uncertain days that could follow, their workers will once again be in a volatile situation. Already retail workers face the potential for violence trying to ensure customers wear masks to stop the spread of the coronavirus. Election week could present more dangers.

Training offered by the retail federation was originally aimed at helping workers defuse tense situations around mask wearing by advising employees to make non-threatening eye contact and speak empathetically, Ms. Martz, the group’s main lawyer.

She acknowledged that there could be additional danger to workers on Tuesday evening, as police will likely be exhausted in the event of protests. “People are so divided and this is such a powder keg,” Ms. Martz said.

All of this is a stark reminder of the tense political situation in the country.

“Maybe in other countries, protest and chaos are more commonly understood around the transfer of power like a presidential election or a prime minister,” said Professor Hyra of the American University. But in the United States, “there has been such a clear understanding that we live in a democracy and whoever wins the Electoral College, there is a peaceful transfer of power.

Mr. Fernett, the Colorado contractor, said he recently purchased a two-year supply of plywood and 2-by-4 planks at the request of concerned retailers.

He takes his own precautions. He has removed his company name, Jack of All Trades, from his company’s trucks and demands that his technicians work in pairs next week for their own safety.

“Our local lumber yard asked what was going on, why such a large order,” said Fernett. “I said, we think all hell is going to break loose. That’s why we source our supplies. Hope we don’t need to use it.