After pro-Trump supporters stormed the Capitol and one woman was reported shot and later died, area retailers and businesses have taken precautions in the event of further unrest.
In addition, Mayor Muriel Bowser ordered a citywide curfew starting at 6 p.m. Wednesday that will remain in effect until 6 a.m. Thursday. During those hours no one, other than those designated by the mayor or essential workers, will be able to walk, bike, run, loiter, stand or motor by car on any street or public place in keeping with the ordinance.
After supporters of President Donald Trump swarmed the Capitol, the Senate chamber was evacuated and Vice President Mike Pence was taken to a secure location. Thousands of protesters had gathered on the National Mall earlier in the day, rallying against the November presidential election results.
Hours after the chaos, President-elect Joe Biden tweeted, “Our way is plain: It is the way of democracy — of lawfulness, and of respect — respect for each other, and for our nation.”
Later, in a televised speech, Biden called on Trump to speak to the nation and urge calm. Quoting Abraham Lincoln on the fragility of democracy, and saying the violent protests were “chaos” and bordered on “sedition,” Biden ended his speech of about 10 minutes by saying, “President Trump, step up.”
First Lady Melania Trump’s chief of staff and former White House press secretary Stephanie Grisham resigned Wednesday, in response to the protests. Announcing her departure on Twitter, she said she was proud to serve the country in the White House and to help children everywhere through FLOTUS’ mission.
A media request to the Metropolitan Police Department was not immediately returned Wednesday.
In advance of Wednesday’s protests at the U.S. Capitol, many area retailers took it upon themselves to take precautions.
Pretty much all of the retailers and businesses in the CityCenterDC remained closed Tuesday afternoon. The upscale shopping center is located in the heart of the district and features 39 stores and restaurants. Tiffany & Co., Gucci, Bulgaria, Brunello Cucinelli, CH Carolina Herrera, Hermès, Louis Vuitton, Kate Spade New York and Salvatore Ferragamo are among the fashion companies that have outposts there. Most of the businesses made the decision to shutter their stores on Monday, and never opened on Tuesday, according to a CityCenterDC representative.
Two other shopping centers in the District, DC USA and Gallery Place, appeared to have closed early Wednesday as no one answered their main numbers. Calls to executives at their respective property owners, Grid Properties and Oxford Properties, were not immediately returned Wednesday. A representative at the Fashion Center at Pentagon City in Arlington, Va., declined comment Wednesday and would not specify if any stores had already closed.
Located less than 7 miles from D.C., the Chevy Chase Pavilion planned to close and “go under lockdown,” as of 6 p.m., according to a spokesman for property owner Cushman & Wakefield. With retailers like J. Crew and CVS, the relatively compact shopping center expected to resume normal business hours Thursday, “barring any special events,” the spokesman said.
Asked if any additional precautions were being taken beyond the mayor’s curfew, representatives at the National Park Service, which oversees the National Mall and area monuments like the Lincoln Memorial, and the National Park Service police department deferred comment to the Metro Police Department. The National Park Service spokesman said, “Our standing rule is to protect the integrity of operations, we’re not going to be able to give you any specifics about how we take care of the memorials.”
Executives at Target and CVS Health, two companies that faced significant property damage and theft during last year’s protests in various U.S. cities, said their stores in the D.C. area have temporary closed. A Target spokeswoman and a CVS Health spokesman noted the importance of keeping employees and customers safe.