Many businesses close while some remain open after protests begi - KMOV.com

Many businesses close while some remain open after protests begin downtown

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Protesters gather outside of the courthouse, Friday, Sept. 15, 2017, in downtown St. Louis (AP Photo) Protesters gather outside of the courthouse, Friday, Sept. 15, 2017, in downtown St. Louis (AP Photo)
ST. LOUIS, Mo. (KMOV.com) -

Many businesses closed their doors on Friday to protect staff and customers after protests erupted in downtown St. Louis following the not guilty verdict of Jason Stockley. 

Some businesses along North Tucker have boarded up their windows while others are still operating as usual but still staying vigilant.

The M-X movie theater closed on Friday due to the protests. Of the entire block of businesses along Washington Avenue, two are closed and four remain open including Snarf’s and Sandwiches.

“It’s just normal procedure, we’re always just alert, staying ready,” said Dexter Verner, manager of Snarf’s and Sandwiches. “It’s just a normal day to us.”   

While some businesses remain open, some employees are choosing not to come in to work.

“Some people are a little uncomfortable with the situation so we are a little short staffed,” said Verner.

City police put demand orders along Chestnut and Market preventing people from street parking.

“It downtown is shut down, it’s going to hurt our business bad,” said Uber driver Stephen Doan.

Doane gets most of his business from downtown customers but said he’s going to work with the circumstances.

“If they need rides, I’m going to drive protestors,” said Doane.

Sitting in the middle of the protests on Tucker is SLU Law School and Dean William Johnson said this is a teaching moment.

"It gives us a birds-eye view of the first amendment in action and in that respect, it's exciting," Johnson said. "We looked at this as an opportunity to really wrestle with the issues that are presented by the case." 

As a university, they did not shut down on Friday but gave students and staff the option to study and work from home.

"Quite a few folks have made the decision to spend the day some place else, but we are open and it's pretty quiet around the law school building today," Johnson said.

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