As protests over the killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis mounted across the U.S. — and globally — over the weekend, several major retailers joined Target in either closing some outlets early or keeping them shuttered altogether.
“Target, CVS, Apple and Walmart all said Sunday that they had temporarily closed or limited hours at some locations for safety reasons. In some places, their stores have been burned, broken into or looted as protests turned violent. Amazon said Sunday that it has adjusted its routes and suspended deliveries to keep its drivers safe in some cities, including Chicago, Los Angeles, Seattle and Minneapolis,” the AP’s Dee-Ann Durbin writes.
Minneapolis-based Target “announced late Saturday that it’s temporarily closing 175 stores across the country as a result of ongoing protests. The company, which operates 1,900 stores across the U.S., closed 71 stores in Minnesota and at least a dozen stores in California and New York. Any Target employees impacted by the store closures will be paid for up to 14 days of scheduled hours, including COVID-19 premium pay, the company said,” Annie Palmer writes for CNBC.
“We are heartbroken by the death of George Floyd and the pain it is causing communities across the country,” Target said in a statement. “The safety of our team and guests is our top priority.”
“The murder of George Floyd has unleashed the pent-up pain of years, as have the killings of Ahmaud Arbery and Breonna Taylor. We say their names and hold a too-long list of others in our hearts,” CEO Brian Cornell posted on Target’s “Bullseye” blog Friday.
“We are monitoring the situation closely and in a handful of cities we’ve adjusted routes or scaled back typical operations to ensure the safety of our teams,” Amazon said in a statement cited by USA Today’s Charisse Jones.
“Small businesses, too, are surveying the damage or trying to determine how to operate amid the chaos. Ammar Aref, who owns a corner grocery store in Minneapolis blocks from where Floyd was killed, said he has stayed open every day, but he doesn’t know how much stock to order and his employees don’t want to come to work. He boards up his windows every night,” the AP’s Durbin adds.
Meanwhile, “Apple has temporarily closed the majority of its U.S. retail stores for the safety of employees and customers…. Numerous Apple Stores from coast to coast have been targeted by looters, damaged, or preemptively secured and emptied of sales floor merchandise to deter damage,” Michael Steeber reports for 9to5Mac.
“One of the first stores targeted was Apple Uptown in Minneapolis, which was vandalized, boarded up, looted, and then reinforced a second time. Subsequent protests saw stores damaged or looted in Portland, Philadelphia, Brooklyn, Salt Lake City, Los Angeles, Charleston, Washington, D.C., Scottsdale, and San Francisco. Apple products stolen from stores are rendered inoperable after leaving the building and can be tracked by authorities. The safeguards haven’t deterred protestors,” Steeber adds.
“Kroger and Walmart locations throughout the Greater Cincinnati area closed their doors early Sunday and plan to continue the early closures in anticipation of ongoing protests. Kroger announced the decision to shoppers over their intercom system that they would close locations at 8:30 p.m. Sunday night,” ABC-affiliate WCPO reports.
“Police arrested about 4,100 people in U.S. cities over the weekend, according to the Associated Press, and several people have died nationwide in the protests. Nearly a week after Floyd’s death, it remains unclear whether tensions across the country are calming or escalating,” The Washington Postreports.
“People associated with both the extreme right and left are being accused of igniting the conflagration. The Trump administration blamed what it called the radical left, naming antifa, a contraction of the word ‘anti-fascist’ that has come to be associated with a diffuse movement of left-wing protesters who engage in more aggressive techniques like vandalism,” Neil MacFarquhar reports for The New York Times.
“Others said white supremacists and far-right groups were responsible, pointing to online statements by adherents that the upheaval would hasten the collapse of a multiethnic, multicultural United States,” MacFarquhar continues.
Indeed, “Trump tweeted Sunday that the United States will designate antifa as a terrorist organization, even though the U.S. government has no existing legal authority to label a wholly domestic group in the manner it currently designates foreign terrorist organizations,” write CNN’s Evan Perez and Jason Hoffman.