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Businesses first forced to close because of coronavirus, now boarding up nightly because of unrest

Frustrations mount with 5th day of Denver protests
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Posted at 4:22 PM, Jun 01, 2020
and last updated 2020-06-01 18:22:27-04

DENVER -- On the fifth day of protests in Denver, there are mounting frustrations among business owners near the State Capitol building.

First ordered to close over coronavirus, Denver businesses are now boarding up nightly because of the unrest. The lucky ones are only losing customers. Others have been vandalized and ransacked.

"I believe in what they're doing by protesting, but the violence has got to stop," said Christopher Dmytrenko, owner of the popular brunch spot, Fork and Spoon.

Dmytrenko just opened up to in-house dining last week after a nearly three-month COVID closure, yet his restaurant windows are boarded up because of four nights of continuous vandalism.

"I'm all boarded up, yeah," Dmytrenko said.

The damage to the city is starting to agitate even those who support the message.

"Before the vandalism started, we painted our own windows with messages reflecting our support," said Holly Brooks, owner of Capitol Hill Books. "We don't know what's going to happen, but it's really been heartwarming because the people who come in this store are so supportive. And I swear – every one of them says, 'We're so glad you're open.'"

Agitators have been smashing out storefront windows every night.

The financial blow was softened by the weekend brunch crowd - not fearing mid-morning protests, spots like Fork and Spoon were able to rake in the kind of cash they haven't seen in weeks.

"We had a pretty strong weekend," Dmytrenko said. "Even with boarded windows, I had a full house, so I'm just surprised."

"The way I see it - we're just working hard," said a manager at the liquor store across the street. "They need to stop. It's so destructive."

About the only people benefitting are those hired to clean it up.

"Even though we're busy with this - it's not the work that we want," said Danny Ortiz, owner of Project X Emergency and Disaster Restoration. "We are very busy boarding up businesses, but it's not the kind of work we like. Protesters, get your point across. But, do it in a civil way."