Businesses downtown board up ahead of weekend protests

Businesses downtown board up ahead of weekend protests

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WAVE) - Up and down the streets of downtown Louisville, windows and doors are covered by boards ahead of planned protests this weekend.

Kevin Seo at Osaka on Market Street said in May their building was graffitied but the glass was not broken. He said they took boards down two weeks ago after putting them up at the end of May.

"Today we put them back up because we heard protests were coming," Seo said Friday.

Seo said putting the boards up has been hard on business because a majority of their advertising for the business is in the windows.

"A lot of the other companies around here remained boarded up. Maybe it was a good idea to keep it up but just for appearances its better for business [to take them down]," Seo said.

He said they are planning to be open tomorrow, at least for a portion of the day.

"I've been over there once helping protests and we let protesters come in and use the bathrooms before they got porta potties put over there," Seo said.

Since the pandemic hit in March, Osaka has not re-opened their dining area.

"I'd say our business is at 60 percent or so of normal. that's kind of offset because we don't have to employ as many servers and stuff but it hasn't been great. just trying to survive>

On Fourth Street, JD Dotson with Regalo said since March his business has had to move online. He, too, is boarding up ahead of this weekend.

"Our windows were broken in May," Dotson said. "We were looted and so we boarded up after that. So these windows here behind our Marsha Johnson wall is broken glass still. We're still waiting on the glass."

Dotson said the mural of Marsha Johnson is to show support for the gay community and black transgender lives. Next to the mural are the names of all the transwomen murdered in the past two years in the United States alone.

He said while he is boarding up his shop, the material things don't matter as much to him.

“This is stuff. It’s not important. I think the important thing is that people are safe and you know change is coming,” Dotson said.

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