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Ferguson, Missouri Restaurants Close in Anticipation of Grand Jury Verdict

Missouri Governor Jay Nixon has preemptively declared a state of emergency.

Workers board up windows at a restaurant near the Buzz Westfall Justice Center.
Workers board up windows at a restaurant near the Buzz Westfall Justice Center.
Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

Earlier this summer, Ferguson, Missouri was the site of many protests, arrests, and political unrest after the police shooting of unarmed teenager Michael Brown. Later today, an announcement will be made, revealing a grand jury's decision over whether or not to charge officer Darren Wilson in the August 2014 killing — and many local businesses have announced their intention to temporarily close as Missouri Governor Jay Nixon has preemptively declared a state of emergency. In preparation for protests, many school districts have cancelled classes and activities for this evening, with some closing schools tomorrow.

St. Louis Post-Dispatch restaurant critic Ian Froeb has been sharing restaurants' updates via Twitter: Restaurateur Gerard Craft, who owns St. Louis hotspots Niche and Pastaria, among others, announced his entire restaurant group would close its doors tonight. (St. Louis sits about eight miles away from Ferguson.) Journalists in nearby Clayton, Missouri captured restaurant owners near the city's Buzz Westfall Justice Center boarding up their windows. And in Ferguson proper, many in-town businesses will also shutter, citing the safety of its employees: Ferguson Brewing Company announced it would close tonight, asking its guests to "keep our community in your prayers." Just a few blocks away, Cathy's Kitchen Restaurant & Diner has announced an indefinite closure:


Meanwhile, other local businesses have acknowledged how the grand jury verdict is affecting the community. Yesterday, Cose Dolci Bakery posted on Facebook that "It's been really rough on this community, and the small businesses, to watch the effect of all of the media coverage, etc. We've heard rumors, like everyone, that it might be early this week. Please rest assured that we are intending on getting everyone's order completed so you can enjoy your Thanksgiving holiday." Cose Dolci Bakery was open earlier today — Governor Nixon even stopped by — but is now closed per its usual operating hours.

Many restaurants, including Cathy's and the Ferguson Brewing Company, were forced to close in August during the ongoing protests. The grand jury decision will be announced at an as-yet-unknown time this evening; Nixon is expected to speak at 5:30p.m. local time to call for peaceful protests.

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