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Downtown businesses asked to close early, curfew in effect tonight

Downtown businesses in Washington are being encouraged to close their doors by 4 p.m. today in advance of a protest scheduled on the Washington waterfront at 5:30. The city has also implemented an 8 p.m. curfew for Monday night, according to Washington Police and Fire Services Director Stacy Drakeford.

Drakeford coordinated with Washington Harbor District Alliance Director Meg Howdy to push the message to business owners Monday afternoon. Once businesses are closed, the WPD will close Stewart Parkway from Gladden to Bonner streets.

“Most of them close at 5 o’clock anyway, so if they can go ahead and get out of there, we can make sure the streets are blocked off,” Drakeford said.

Howdy passed along the message to business owners shortly after 2 p.m. Of the business owners she’s talked to, she says there’s hope that the protest will be peaceful, but also a sense of nervousness.

“Everybody is hopeful that this will be a peaceful opportunity for people to share their thoughts and feelings,” Howdy said. “Some businesses have chosen to go ahead and board up their windows. When you see other towns, it can be very stressful, on top of fears from COVID. It’s been really tough psychologically and financially for our small business owners. Everybody is hopeful, but there’s always a little bit of worry when it’s the unknown.”