ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (KRQE) – Almost three weeks after violent protests in downtown Albuquerque, many businesses there are still boarded up. And some business owners are worried they won’t make it.
It’s Friday night and typically you’d see of tons people out and about but tonight, the streets are quiet. “Driving down here it looks like we’re gearing up for hurricane season or something,” says Dustin Rael, Bar Manager Red Door Brewing.
Downtown Albuquerque has been eerily quiet the past few weeks, “It’s a Friday afternoon we should have tons of people walking around,” says Dawn Vatoseow, Owner, Lindy’s Diner. But instead, Lindy’s, the oldest restaurant on Central, remains empty during what would normally be their lunchtime rush. “We just don’t know what the next move should be. People seem to be afraid to come down to the area,” Vatoseow says.
The City boarded-up businesses along Central following protests that turned violent late last month and not much changed since then. “It’s hard to see businesses that were doing to-go stuff and trying to stay afloat with that it’s hard to see them really shut down now,” Rael says.
The City says it’s up to each business to decide when they want their crews to remove the boards. Over at Red Door Brewing, they decided to reopen as soon as the governor allowed it. “We’ve actually seen a pretty good outpour of support from the locals down here,” Manager Dustin Rael says.
Rael says it will take more businesses following their lead. “Once these boards come down, people will see that things are reopening and see that it doesn’t look too dead down here,” Rael says.
But some business owners worry that won’t be enough. “It’s going take a lot more than taking boards down to bring business back downtown,” Vatoseow says. And they hope the City will step in to help draw people back to the heart of the city.
“We aren’t going to have any conventions anytime soon. The theaters aren’t going to be opening anytime soon. Doesn’t look like the bars are going to be opening so there’s got to be some incentive to bring business back to downtown,” Vatoseow says.
The City tells us they are working on a plan to continue to help small businesses get through the COVID-19 pandemic, but aren’t ready to provide any details. The City also says they are working to make remaining boards more appealing to the eye.
- Albuquerque Police preparing for continued protests, rioting
- VIDEO: UFC’s Jon ‘Bones’ Jones takes away spray cans from vandals
- Business owners: Peaceful protesters were not property destroyers
- Albuquerque business owners clean up mess after overnight riot
- Clean-up takes place following downtown Albuquerque riot
- Overnight protests turn violent in downtown Albuquerque
- Thousands attend Sunday vigil for George Floyd, march down Central