Facebook accounts are lighting up with word of businesses planning to close early before the George Floyd protest march in Bismarck Tuesday afternoon.
Among the places reportedly shutting down ahead of the 4:00 p.m. event are Big Boy, Uptown Loft, Little Cottage Cafe, Corral Bar and others.
Many of the businesses are not far from the planned protest area, which is set for the 2300 block of East Main Avenue.
Sanford Health Medical Center sent out a note saying the main entrance to the center would be under “controlled access” Tuesday night.
“To ensure the safety of our employees, patients and visitors, the main entrance of the Sanford Health Medical Center in Bismarck will be under controlled access this evening.,” Sanford explained in a statement. “Implementing the controlled access process means the doors will be locked but visitors will still be allowed to come and go. Visitors will need to communicate the name of the patient they are visiting with Sanford Security upon arrival.”
Terry’s Health Products, in a Facebook post noting it would close at 4:00 p.m. Tuesday, said, “We trust and believe that our community will respectfully and maturely honor their right to peacefully protest. We want our team and customers safe so we are barricading our parking lot.”
In terms of public reaction, some on social media say they get it, lamenting the fact that businesses feel the need to take such precautions given the uncertainly of violence in previous protests in other cities nationwide and, recently, in Fargo.
Earlier Tuesday, the Bismarck Police Department issued a statement urging people to exercise their First Amendment right to protest, but to protest peacefully.
“We have been in contact with the organizers of this event and have had productive dialogue,” the statement notes. “We understand there is a great deal of concern amongst the public due to escalated violence and riots across the country, but we ask the citizens of Bismarck to be the exception. We fully support the First Amendment right to peaceably assemble. The organizers of this event have assured us that their intent is for a peaceful protest.”