Businesses react to curfew going into effect in Raleigh

Wake County News

RALEIGH, N.C. (WNCN) — At 8 p.m. on Monday, a curfew goes into effect in the City of Raleigh,
Mayor Mary-Ann Baldwin implemented it after protests turned destructive and violent for the second night in a row in the city.

On Sunday, people first protested peacefully for hours in downtown Raleigh. The events then escalated to tear gas, looting, violence and flames.

As the night went on, the chaos spread to North Hills.

Several businesses had windows and doors broken. One restaurant said alcohol was stolen from their bar. An ATM machine was damaged.

“That was a big surprise for us. We were kind of dumbfounded frankly,” said Kevin Jennings, owner of Urban Food Group.

On Monday, the mayor announced a citywide curfew from 8 p.m. until 5 a.m.

“I feel better about the curfew being in place frankly because I think not having a curfew last night hurt us,” said Jennings. “We have one restaurant in Denver, Colorado and it worked last night. It did. So they were, it mostly fizzled out very quickly and it was pretty much over.”

Curfews have been ignored by protesters in some cities but worked in others like Fayetteville.
Business owners have already taken a financial hit from COVID-19, the riots, and now a curfew will reduce their hours to serve customers. But they said community safety comes first.

“It’s just sad. I’m just sad about the whole situation. People are angry. I get it. I hate to see it escalate to the point of destructing business property,” said Tyler Helikson, CEO and co-founder of Happy & Hale. “The sad thing is a lot of people who are taking it to that extreme aren’t the protesters. Some of them don’t even live here.”

Under the curfew, businesses will close and people will be required to stay home, with the exception of medical emergencies. It restricts travel within city limits.

Violators will be charged with a misdemeanor and a heavy fine.

The curfew does not apply to medical professionals, public safety workers, hospital workers, military personnel, public transportation personnel, public utility personnel, and journalists.
It remains in effect until the mayor declares it’s over.

“Most of the protesters are peaceful and a lot of people are here just to stir up trouble to then create a bigger divide that already exists, so the whole thing again is just sad,” said Helikson. “I’m surely in support of the protests, but if the curfew stops more damage from happening, I am 100 percent in support of it.”

Mayor Baldwin’s full statement:

As Mayor, the safety and security of the people of Raleigh are my top priorities. After two nights of violence and destruction, I have issued a State of Emergency and will impose a citywide curfew that will begin tonight at 8 p.m. and continue through 5 a.m. Tuesday morning.
By setting a curfew, my hope is that this will allow our community to pause, collect ourselves, begin to repair the damage, and turn our focus to the important work of finding connection and commonality. There are so many people hurting throughout this city, and we need to come together peacefully and as one community.
There is truth in the call for justice. For those who have protested peacefully, your voices are being heard and will always be welcome. The call for change can’t be answered, however, if we continue to allow destruction of our property and attacks on our small businesses that have already been hurt by this as well as the impacts of COVID-19.
I have great hope for our community and believe in our people. Today, we must work together, as one, and use this as an opportunity to become better than we were before. One Raleigh for all people.

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