While most attention following an FBI warning about armed protests at state capitols has been focused on the building and those inside; businesses around the capitols are also feeling anxious as inauguration day nears.
“We going through this presidency thing where the riots are happening; so of course the community is worried,” said Derrick Hayes, owner of Big Dave's Cheesesteaks.
Big Dave’s Cheesesteaks was hit twice during protests over racial injustice over the summer, and fear more unrest could cost them big. It's a shared sentiment among business owners already struggling to make ends meet amid sluggish pandemic sales.
“Small businesses in downtown Atlanta are struggling. We’re working really hard everyday to make ends meet. We’re talking about people who are trying to put food on the table,” said Mahsa Kimes, owner of Social Market Cafe.
Georgia law enforcement hopes to ease their anxiety.
"These gentlemen (Major General Thomas Carden, Adjutant General of the Georgia Department of Defense; and Colonel Chris Wright, Commissioner of the Georgia Department of Public Safety (DPS)) and their teams are fully prepared to deal with anything and everything that may happen in the days and weeks ahead,” said Gov. Brian Kemp.
Col. Wright said the department is monitoring protest activity and has a strategic plan in place. Business owners though are just hoping to avoid any more destruction.
“We’re hoping that if there is a protest in downtown Atlanta that it will be peaceful,” said Kimes.
Derrick Hayes said he and his employees will continue to stay strong.
“The bigger fight is us sticking together and beating whatever little groups are running around attacking trying to you know mess businesses up, we gonna show we standing strong as Big Dave’s Cheesesteaks and we stand for the community," said Hayes.
Gov. Kemp said right now the threat to Atlanta is low, but said they won't be taking any chances. A source at APD told CBS46 reporter Jamie Kennedy that some officers are moving to twelve-hour shifts and having their vacation suspended due to the possibility of civil unrest.
Copyright 2020 WGCL-TV (Meredith Corporation). All rights reserved.