Hundreds of stores and restaurants kept their doors closed during the George Floyd protests this weekend after windows were smashed, walls were vandalized and products looted. Business owners and employees sought to limit the damage, and some officials even ordered retailers to stay closed during the protests. The protests began last week following Floyd's death while in Minneapolis police custody on May 25.
Many of the weekend protests began peacefully but turned violent during the night as police clashed with protesters. There were reports of looting and vandalism across the country, inspiring retailers like Walmart and Target to adjust hours or close stores entirely. Target closed six stores in Minnesota, Illinois, Pennsylvania, and California reports the Washington Post. In Philadelphia, Mayor Jim Kenney ordered all retailers to stay closed on Sunday.
Whole Foods, owned by Amazon, told CNBC stores will close before curfews begin so employees have enough time to get home. Stores near Chicago, Los Angeles and Minneapolis will stay closed. Amazon also told Flex drivers late Saturday to stop delivering packages immediately. The memos went out to drivers in Miami, Minneapolis, Los Angeles, Seattle, Nashville, and a handful of other cities. "We are monitoring the situation closely and in a handful of cities we’ve adjusted routes or scaled back typical delivery operations to ensure the safety of our teams," Amazon told CNBC.
Target, which is headquartered in Minneapolis, announced it would close 71 stores in Minnesota and about a dozen stores in California and New York during the protests. Any employee working at a store closed will be paid up to 14 days for scheduled hours, including the COVID-19 pay they were already receiving. Employees will also be allowed to work at other Targets that remain open.
"It’s hard to see now, but the day will come for healing—and our team will join our hearts, hands and resources in that journey," Target CEO Brian Cornell said in a letter Friday. "Even now, Target leaders are assembling community members, partners and local officials to help identify what more we can do together and what resources are required to help families, starting right here in Minnesota."
On Sunday evening, Walmart closed hundreds of stores nationwide and planned to re-open them Monday. Stores in Minneapolis and Atlanta were closed Friday. "We want to make sure all [our employees] are being taken care of," a spokesperson told CNBC. "That’s been the hour by hour leading factor driving these decisions and as the situation unfolds, we’ll figure out how else to take care of them."
The protests have been ongoing since Floyd's death on May 25 after a police officer pinned Floyd to the ground by putting his knee on Floyd's neck for several minutes. The officer was fired and charged with third-degree murder and manslaughter. On Monday, Floyd's family released the results of an independent autopsy, which ruled Floyd's death a "homicide caused by asphyxia."