UPDATED 12:43 PM PT – Tuesday, January 19, 2021
Security concerns are bringing big losses for businesses in the Washington D.C. area ahead of the presidential inauguration.
Some residents fear the strict policing measures and lack of tourists could damage the city economy, forcing more small businesses to close their doors permanently.
“I guess it’s pretty intense what they are doing,” a Washington D.C. resident explained. “They have closed pretty much the whole downtown area, there are barricades, checkpoints, concrete blocks everywhere. So, you really can’t get near the National Mall or Constitution Avenue. It’s really intense.”
Thursday, 11am Constitution Ave near DOJ. Zero cars. pic.twitter.com/uCulxsnbbj
— Jeffery E. Peterson (@PetersonJeffE) January 16, 2021
Downtown D.C.’s Business Improvement District Executive Director Neil Albert is urging residents to “avoid downtown at all costs.”
Hotels in the area have been asked to close ahead of the ceremony unless they are hosting security personnel for the event. Roughly 25 thousand National Guardsmen have been deployed to the Capitol.
Meanwhile, businesses are boarding up their windows out of an abundance of caution in case riots break out in the area.
“It’s so strange. Washington looks so different from what we see every day and, it’s like a ghost town,” a city resident said. “We only hope after the inauguration things will come to normal and people live peacefully. That’s all we wish right now.”
— Brian Munoz (@brianmmunoz) January 17, 2021
While some business owners are hopeful they can reopen after the inauguration, many remain unsure, citing violence and economic strife as a continued threat to their livelihoods.