Downtown Long Beach businesses brace for potential post-election unrest

Businesses in downtown Long Beach boarded up windows earlier this week in anticipation of unrest following the results of the 2020 presidential election.
LONG BEACH, Calif. (KABC) -- Orsa Modica, owner of Modica's Deli on the corner of Linden Ave and Ocean Blvd in downtown Long Beach, said that she made the decision to board up prior to Election Day months ago.

"Being a restaurant owner and having so many people come in and talking about politics, there's so much division right now that I felt like we definitely needed to board up because I need to protect this place," Modica said.

Modica said she's been serving the Long Beach community for 24 years. She is one of countless small business owners downtown who decided to board up shop.

"Back in May, our store was broken into. It was looted. It was very heartbreaking," said Radhika Chougule, owner of Cuppa Cuppa. "We wanted to go ahead and board up and be on the safe side rather than the sorry side."

On May 31, peaceful protests in downtown Long Beach over the death of George Floyd were overshadowed by a night of vandalism and looting.

SEE MORE: Long Beach cleans up after night of mayhem

"There are still businesses that have not recovered from the civil unrest," said CEO of the Downtown Long Beach Alliance Kraig Kojian. "There are still businesses that have not fully recovered or are continuing to recover from COVID."

In October, a report released by the DLBA found that retail sales in downtown Long Beach were down 50% in the first half of the year. According to research, that's about $100 million in losses compared to the same period in 2019.

"The majority of our businesses are mom and pop, independent boutiques," Kojian said. "It's really the backbone of our downtown community so we're trying to help them as much as possible."

DLBA has launched a notification system, alerting residents and business owners about planned demonstrations, road closures, civil unrest and emergencies.

"What we want to do is be able to share that information as a heads up and not to instill any fear or concern with the community," Kojian said.

Modica said she will remain open regardless.

"I refuse to close unless I absolutely have to," Modica said. "I'm a fighter and I'm going stay here and be here for the long run."

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