As the world grappled with the violent scenes created by the pro-Trump rioters who engulfed the area in and around the U.S. Capitol on Wednesday, legislators and law enforcement investigators weren’t the only ones who went right back to work.
After closing entirely or for several hours early on Wednesday as a safety precaution in case of any civic unrest, most D.C. area stores were back to normal business hours on Thursday. In anticipation of the possibility of havoc related to what turned out to be thousands of protesters rallying on the National Mall Wednesday — and incited by President Donald Trump to march to the Capitol building — numerous businesses decided to shutter their D.C. area outposts on Tuesday. Others decided to close early after hundreds of violent pro-Trump supporters swarmed the U.S. Capitol on Wednesday afternoon.
While U.S. residents and others around the globe tried to absorb the combustion of previously unfathomable events, others lambasted security forces for failing to maintain any sense of order. Meanwhile, Congress certified President-elect Joe Biden’s 2020 election victory. U.S. Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi claimed that Trump had incited sedition and called for his removal from office under the 25th Amendment. Several senior administration officials resigned, citing Trump’s behavior in egging on the mob.
On Thursday, D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser extended the public emergency that she had issued Wednesday for 15 more days, taking it past the presidential inauguration scheduled for Jan. 20.
The Metropolitan Police Department reported it had arrested 68 people and recovered six firearms and two pipe bombs. In addition, 56 officers were injured and two were hospitalized. MPD also noted that four individuals lost their lives. A fifth person, a U.S. Capitol Police officer, died Thursday. As part of its efforts to identify persons of interest responsible for the unlawful entry offenses that occurred Wednesday at the U.S. Capitol, the MPD posted photos of the riot on its Twitter thread, and has set up a tip and text line.
The U.S. Capitol Police’s chief of police Steven Sund said in a statement released Thursday, “As protesters were forcing their way toward the House chamber, where members of Congress were sheltering in place, a sworn USCP employee discharged their service weapon, striking an adult woman.” The USCP employee has been placed on administrative leave and their police powers have been suspended pending the outcome of a Metropolitan Police Department and USCP investigation.
More than 18 local, state and deferral law enforcement agencies and the National Guard were involved with the response, according to Sund’s statement. “Maintaining public safety in an open environment — specifically for First Amendment activities — has long been a challenge. The USCP had a robust plan established to address anticipated First Amendment activities. But make no mistake, these mass riots were not First Amendment activities; they were criminal riotous behavior.”
Several area shopping centers and malls — both in the district and beyond — resumed normal business hours Thursday. With 39 stores and restaurants, CityCenterDC was up-and-running Thursday morning, according to a representative there. Filled with luxury brands like Gucci, Louis Vuitton, Boss and Salvatore Ferragamo, most businesses decided on Tuesday to temporarily shutter their stores there on Wednesday as a safeguard against any potential unrest.
Major retailers in another shopping center in the district, DC USA, closed Wednesday afternoon, a few hours earlier than usual. That decision was made after Bowser issued the citywide curfew. “We wanted to make sure that our employees got home safely,” one DC USA executive said. With anchor stores like Target, Marshall’s, Best Buy and Bed, Bath & Beyond, DC USA employs about 1,000 people.
After closing a select number of stores in Washington due to Wednesday’s violence and to ensure the safety of its customers and employees, CVS Health reopened all those stores Thursday, a company spokesman said. Target, which had closed its D.C. area stores Wednesday, reopened all of them on time on Thursday, a company spokeswoman said.
At the Gallery Place, an associate at Ann Taylor Loft said that outpost was only dealing with online sales on Thursday, not in-store shoppers. Calls to Urban Outfitters, another store affiliated with Gallery Place, were unanswered Thursday.
The Chevy Chase Pavilion had also resumed normal business operations by Thursday morning. The same could be said for the Shops at Wisconsin Place, which includes such retailers as Cole Haan, J. Jill, Sephora, Talbots and Eileen Fisher. As a safety measure, some stores had closed an hour early on Wednesday. A J. Jill saleswoman said business was up and down, as it generally has been. An associate at Eileen Fisher described Thursday’s store traffic as “good,” adding that Wednesday’s event at the Capitol had not affected business.
Farther outside the capital, Tysons Corner Center in Tyson’s Va., which houses Adidas, Coach, Diesel, Disney, H&M and other stores, was operating under normal conditions. Mauricio Guzman, an associate at the Adidas store there, said the mall’s operating hours had been slightly reduced for all stores on an ongoing basis. Late in the day Thursday, store traffic was “very light,” which has been more of a norm lately. Saturdays tend to be the busiest day as of late, he said.
As for whether Wednesday’s events at the Capitol had affected store traffic, Guzman said, “It has created an awareness.”
While there were not a lot of people out Thursday, those, who were out appeared to be careful and aware, he said. They were also shopping earlier in the day because they are uncertain what may or may not happen later in the day, Guzman said.