Election unrest has businesses boarded up

VIDEO: Businesses worried they could take the brunt of election outrage

Businesses in western Washington are boarded up in preparation for election unrest.

In Bellevue, a strip mall just south of Bellevue Square along Bellevue Way boarded up in advance of the election results.

The businesses were vandalized and looted during the George Floyd protests on May 31.  The looters took advantage of police being busy with protesters and targeted dozens of businesses, breaking windows.

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Paul Hwang’s parents own Cigar Land. They had $100,000 in damages in May.

On Tuesday, they boarded up the shop again. “We really can’t suffer another incident,” said Hwang. “If anything to the scale of what happens in the summer happens again, we’re almost definitely going out of business.”

Bellevue police are not aware of any planned protests. They have been working with businesses to help them plan.

“We leave it to the businesses to make the best decisions for their business,” said Major Andrew Popochock. “This might not be an isolated event, just on Election Day, it may be something that happens through the end of the year. We want to assure our residents we are prepared.”

Crime Stoppers of Puget Sound warned people to stay home if possible so that law enforcement can handle any unrest.

“If you don’t have to go anywhere, don’t,” said Jim Fuda, with Crime Stoppers of Puget Sound.

KIRO 7 also noticed paper products appeared to be selling out at area stores.

“If you look at worst-case scenario, 30 days of supplies like that will be plenty, so it doesn’t make sense to go out and buy 12 jumbo packs of toilet paper at Costco,” said Fuda.