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Businesses Across the U.S. Are Boarding Windows in Anticipation of Election Unrest

Plus, Muji is making plant-based meat in Japan, and other news to start your day

A masked woman walking out of a Sweetgreen with plywood covering the door and the window.
A boarded-up Sweetgreen in New York’s West Village in November 2, 2020.
Photo by Noam Galai/Getty Images

Businesses board up in anticipation of potential election night activity

Restaurants, bars, and other businesses across the country are boarding up their storefronts in anticipation of civil unrest that experts say could unfold on or after election night.

In New York, iconic stores like Macy’s Saks Fifth Avenue — as well as other businesses stretching from Times Square to SoHo to Brooklyn to the Bronx — have boarded up. In Chicago, businesses along the Magnificent Mile shopping district have covered over their storefronts, and the city has snow plows and other vehicles ready to act as barriers if needed. In San Francisco, the Union Square Business Improvement District says that it expects 75 percent of its tenants to cover over their windows. A similar sight of boarded-up storefronts can be seen in commercial areas of Boston, Los Angeles, D.C., and other cities.

The demand is such that some stores have run low on plywood, and construction and security companies hired to secure storefronts say that they’ve had to scramble to find larger quantities of material, CBS News reports. Some retailers say they have also added extra security personnel.

No matter the outcome of the election, there are bound to be people angry with the result, especially given years of increasing polarization. Experts tell Vox that a summer of mobilization — including, on the left, largely peaceful protests against police brutality that sometimes escalated into unrest, and on the right, rallies against pandemic lockdown measures, including an instance of armed protesters entering Michigan’s state Capitol building — has made people more likely to demonstrate if their candidate loses.

And in other news…

  • Minimalist Japanese home goods purveyor Muji is selling its own plant-based meat made from soybeans (currently only available in Japan). [Fast Company]
  • Inside the Pennsylvania bakery whose cookie tallies have predicted the last three presidential elections. [Vogue]
  • In response to another discrimination lawsuit that Black franchisees have recently filed against McDonald’s, the fast-food company accused the two franchisees leading the suit of mismanaging their restaurants. [NRN]
  • Mike Isabella — of Top Chef and D.C. restaurant fame — faces a lawsuit filed by a group of former employees claiming that Isabella and other managers of Requin, a restaurant that closed in 2018, owe them lost wages and damages. [WaPo]
  • Searches for election cake, a centuries-old recipe that has faded into obscurity, have increased over the past few days. [NYT]
  • What happens to cities when restaurants close? [NYT]

All AM Intel Coverage [E]