The scenes in cities look apocalyptic, even in daylight, with plywood covering storefronts such as Macy’s and Target in New York City and major shopping hubs.
Yet some businesses are choosing to keep many of their windows clear, sometimes despite sustaining damage.
Chase (JPM) began boarding up a handful of its locations in New York City this week, primarily as a precaution “based on expected protest activity,” it said.”There were isolated instances of vandalism, mostly [in] New York and California.” No money was taken.
Starbucks (SBUX) is leaving the decision to board up stores or close locations to its local managers, it told CNN Business. The company did not provide any data on how many of its more than 15,000 locations have sustained damage, are boarded up or have closed. Its Astor Place location in downtown Manhattan, normally a busy gathering spot for college students but more recently the recent site of protests, was vandalized and is currently closed.
“Our field leaders are empowered to make the best decision regarding store hours and closures that will keep their [employees] and customers safe,” it stated.
Many Starbucks locations across the country remain open with their windows clear.
Toronto-Dominion Bank (TD), better known as TD Bank, said on Thursday that only 27 out of its 1,200 plus stores in the United States have been damaged in the past week, as demonstrations became more widespread. “None were open at the time of the incidents and no employees were injured,” the company said a statement emailed to CNN Business. “We are monitoring the situation closely and taking steps to repair and protect the damaged facilities.”
Asked if it had boarded up any of its locations, the company declined to comment beyond its statement. No money was stolen from the damaged locations, it said.
In New York City’s Herald Square shopping mecca, almost all stores are boarded up and several shops, including Sephora, carry signs saying, “Store Closed, No Inventory, No Cash.” One closed CVS Pharmacy (CVS) store is only partially boarded up, leaving the other side clear.
For businesses, the decision to board up must be made on the fly as events evolve. CVS, which has boarded up some of its nearly 10,000 locations around the country, estimated that about 400 of its stores across 25 states have “experienced varying levels of damage” in recent days.
“Most of these stores have since reopened, but the number of store closures is fluid,” said Mike DeAngelis, senior director of corporate communications at CVS. “We’re continually monitoring the situation and will close stores, if needed, to ensure the safety of employees and customers.”
While some restaurants have boarded up during this time, Fresh & Co. has chosen not to, with one exception. The family-owned restaurant group, which sells healthy food and has 19 locations, all in New York, told CNN Business that it put up plywood over the windows of a single location that was vandalized last week, the CEO said.
“We are not concerned for broken storefronts, as we are not a desirable target for looting and rioters,” said George Tenedios, Fresh & Co.’s CEO and co-founder. “Our decision to not board up all our locations was due to the lack of resources, as we are still on stay-at-home orders, and the assumption that the looters and rioters are targeting larger companies, clothing, jewelry, liquor, etc.”
Tenedios also pointed out that many Fresh & Co. restaurants have no inventory as they’ve been closed for almost three months due to the pandemic. “We are hopeful that the riots and looting will end sooner than later, and we pray we can all safely get back to work and rebuild our business,” he said.