SAVANNAH, Ga. (WSAV) — Local businesses are breathing a sigh of relief Monday after protests remained peaceful in Savannah.
Some downtown businesses, like Collins Quarter, made the decision to board up their storefronts ahead of Sunday’s protests.
Andrew Williams, the director of operations, told WSAV.com NOW it was done out of an abundance of caution for the community.
“Safety is so much more to us than the almighty dollar,” said Williams. “We want our people to be safe. And not only do we want out people to be safe at work, we want to make sure people are happy to be here and feel that they’re being cared for.”
Members of the community fostered over a dozen cats from Pounce Cat Cafe on Broughton Street when they couldn’t find any plywood to put up before the protest.
“We had all of them out of there within an hour and a half,” said Ashley Brooks, the owner of the cafe. “I posted on Instagram that we needed fosters and within 30 minutes, we had homes for everybody and just waited for everyone to come to pick them up.”
Many business owners say they’ve already had to make changes because of the coronavirus pandemic, so they’ve gotten used to the unexpected.
“As a group, we’ll take whatever backlash comes from boarding up,” said Williams. “If we have to board up every night, we will do whatever it takes to keep our community and our patrons and our employees safe.”
For Brooks, she hopes the messages behind the protest are not forgotten.
“I don’t really care about our windows, those can be replaced,” said Brooks. “Obviously we are worried about the cats, but right now I think our biggest concern is just making sure that something is done and something does change.”
Mayor Van Johnson lifted the nightly curfew for Savannah on Monday. Pounce plans to reopen for regular hours on Tuesday.
As for keeping boards up, both business owners said they would play it by ear.