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'You don't really know what to anticipate these days.' Lansing businesses board up ahead of potential unrest

michigan capitol protests
Lansing businesses board up
Posted at 4:47 PM, Jan 15, 2021

LANSING, Mich (WXYZ) — It’s become a common soundtrack of downtown America in the last 8 months. The once noisy hustle and bustle of the city, replaced with the sounds of saws and drills boarding up windows.

“It's a little scary of the things that might happen, could happen,” said Lansing resident Arturo Garcia.

The main focus of potential protests this week is on the Michigan State Capitol, but surrounding businesses aren't taking any chances.

Some storefronts in downtown Lansing are now covered in plywood, leaving their neighbors wondering if they should do the same.

“Seeing other people boarded up, it makes you feel like 'Gosh should I be boarded up?' But that also is an expense,” said Autumn Weston, owner of Weston's Kewpee restaurant.

The family-owned restaurant has been a Lansing staple for nearly a century, first opening in 1923. Weston doesn't know what to expect this weekend, and that’s the worst part.

“You don't really know what to anticipate these days and I think that’s the most nerve-wracking, frustrating, stressful thing," Weston said. “You always hope for a good peaceful outcome where people are safe and buildings are untouched, but that's not always the reality of it.”

Michigan State Police aren’t taking any chances, extending their foot patrols through downtown Lansing to monitor the blocks surrounding the capitol. Most business owners say they’ll stay open unless things get out of hand.

“If it starts getting crazy, I'm just going to head out,” said Jack who works at Jude's Barber Shop.

It’s not the first time these owners braced for a weekend of unrest, but they hope it’s the last.

After a challenging year with even more challenging months ahead, those who made it this far will do whatever it takes to survive.

“To know that this is coming too, it's exhausting," Weston said. "But you have to have faith that good always prevails.”

Your Neighborhood Reporter

Tianna Jenkins

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