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Some downtown SLC business owners say threat of protests is impacting business

Posted at 5:13 PM, Jan 18, 2021
and last updated 2021-01-18 19:13:29-05

SALT LAKE CITY — Several buildings in downtown Salt Lake City are boarded up as the state braces for potential protests and unrest, and Gov. Spencer Cox issued a State of Emergency Friday that will last through Jan. 21.

Despite estimates from the Utah Highway Patrol of a potential large protest Sunday, only a few dozen people showed up from various groups.

The owner of Green Pig Pub in downtown Salt Lake City said everyone is on edge and there is a lot of tension.

“What happened last summer puts some major concerns in my brain,” Bridget Gordon said.

Last summer, Gordon closed her bar during the Salt Lake City riot and some other protests.

“People are again concerned about being downtown. They don’t want to get caught in what happened last summer,” she said.

With more police presence and the State of Emergency, Gordon is hopeful things will stay calm and quiet this week.

READ: Utah activist John Sullivan arrested for involvement in Capitol riot

With concerns over unrest, one of the bartenders at Green Pig Pub said it seems like many people are coming downtown.

“These people are staying home from their offices, which means they are not coming in here to have lunch, or after-work snacks, drinks, whatever, and it affects us a lot,” Robin Brown said.

This just adds another hit to an already tough year for business, Gordon said.

“The concerns are having to close again. People not coming downtown, people feeling unsafe,” she said.

It has been an extremely stressful 10 months due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Gordon said.

“We are doing 50 percent of the business, but I have never worked more or harder since this all started,” she said.

Now, it is time to look ahead, Gordon said. There is finally a light at the end of the tunnel as people are beginning to be vaccinated.

“Hopefully Wednesday, when the inauguration happens and we can all get on board with 'we are all in this together' instead of being separated, I think that will help,” she said.