Seattle businesses begin removing plywood from storefronts

SEATTLE — Downtown Seattle businesses that put up plywood before the election are beginning to take it down.

Worries about destructive protests led property owners to protect storefronts.

On Thursday, a crew removed plywood in front of the store Wayward.

Across Pine Street, Pamela Morales, the owner of Simple Life, said she’ll probably do the same this weekend.

“But I am a little bit worried because I don’t know what will happen in the future,” she said.

Her plywood went up the day before the election.

With former Vice President Joe Biden the clear winner, Seattle has not seen postelection protests.

Simple Life boarded up twice this year after the store was looted in May.

“I keep the boards with me in my home,” Morales said, in case they’ll be needed again.

She said the plywood hurts sales.

That’s why Simply Seattle opted for glass-break sensors instead, even after thefts this summer.

“People see a souvenir store with plywood, they’re not going to come in,” said manager Andrew Munson.

One glass company that puts up plywood said that of the nearly 30 Seattle-area businesses that asked for preelection plywood, three have taken it down.

“There’s a lot of tension in our society,” said Joshua Skule, senior vice president at Allied Universal, a risk advisory and consulting company.

Skule said there remains a threat of civil unrest fueled by misinformation online.

Regarding when it might be safe to take down the plywood, Skule replied, “It’s an excellent question. I think that’s the question everybody is asking themselves as they try to protect their business. I don’t know that any one person, entity, academic or professional intelligence person can give you that assessment.”

The upcoming holiday shopping season is a factor for businesses weighing a decision, as plywood probably won’t help sales in a year already challenging because of the pandemic.