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Several downtown Vancouver businesses boarded up after U.S. violence, looting
VANCOUVER -- Contractors pulled up onto the sidewalk outside a number of downtown Vancouver businesses Wednesday to install plywood over windows and doors, and this time it had nothing to do with coronavirus closures.
Vancouver’s Nordstrom location has been temporarily closed and boarded up out of what the U.S. company is calling "an abundance of caution."
Several of the company's stores, including those in Seattle and Los Angeles have been looted as protests in some American cities over the killing of George Floyd turned violent.
A solidarity rally is planned for Friday afternoon in Vancouver, but it doesn't appear Nordstrom's decision was made due to any kind of Vancouver-specific concern.
"We're paying close attention to potential gatherings that may take place in cities across Canada and the U.S. this week," Nordstrom Canada said in an email to CTV News.
"To help keep our employees and customers safe, we are adjusting hours and temporarily closing stores in some locations. Out of an abundance of caution, some of our storefronts are being boarded."
The Retail Council of Canada advised its members to take action to protect their businesses if they have concerns.
“We are aware of possible marches or demonstrations in various cities and have advised our members that may have concerns to take precautions as we continue to monitor the situation,” the council said in a statement to CTV News.
SFU professor emeritus of marketing strategy, Lindsay Meredith, believes the decision may be strongly influenced by U.S. corporate policies.
"I really don't believe they're facing the same risks here in Vancouver as they are in various cities in the U.S.," Meredith said.
"Once you board up a retail store, you're sending a very big message. And that message is you’re expecting big trouble."
He says once stores start boarding up, other stores will likely follow.
A MAC cosmetics store on Robson was also re-boarding its windows on Wednesday afternoon, and directly across the street a Foot Locker was also encased behind a wall of plywood.
“I understand them. You don’t know how people are going to act. The first protest could have went very sideways, very quickly,” said Jacob Callender-Prasad, who organized a weekend anti-racism rally attended by an estimated 3,000 people at the Vancouver Art Gallery on Sunday.
“Looking at how many turned out, it would have been very hard to control that crowd,” he added about the weekend protest that remained entirely peaceful.
Another rally is planned for Friday at 4 p.m. near the Olympic torch at Jack Poole Plaza.
Callender-Prasad originally planned for people to meet near Trump Tower and march through downtown, but that plan has changed. Protesters will now stay stationary in Coal Harbour and will not march.
“Trump Tower is not a good name to have a protest that is intended to be peaceful around,” he said. “Trump Tower can bring in a lot of people who aren’t just there for the protest but are there for other reasons, or to protest the protest, and things could get violent. We had security concerns.”