Slideshow: Scenes of protest aftermath along downtown, Carytown and Monument Ave.

(Photos by BizSense staff)

Main commercial corridors in the city that had just begun to reopen in the face of coronavirus are closed once again, as long stretches of downtown east of Arthur Ashe Boulevard are now boarded up while they ride out the wave of protests spurred by the death of George Floyd.

The Arts District, mainly along Broad Street, appears to have been one of the hardest-hit areas, as the majority of storefronts have boarded up in some way – some because their windows were smashed and others to prevent the same fate should demonstrations turn unruly again.

Some storefronts were spared from damage, while others bore the brunt of demonstrators’ frustrations. Others, such as the Virginia Repertory Theater, noticeably kept their facades open to the light of day as usual, without any damage and no boarding up.

Some remained open for business from behind the plywood. A barber shop at the corner of East Broad and Second Street that had been smashed up over the weekend had a steady stream of customers during business hours Monday. Around the corner, Sandwich shop Salt & Forge on Second Street did the same.

As the protests headed into their third night, many businesses, even those with smashed windows, placed fliers over their boarded-up storefronts showing messages of solidarity with the protestors.

Others posted pleading messages to protestors, aimed at preventing further damage, posting fliers with “Notice! This is a Community Organization” or “This is a small local business” or “Minority-Owned.”

The Wells Fargo branch at East Grace and Second streets was one of the hardest-hit buildings in the neighborhood, with none of its windows, doors or ATM machines intact. Even its drive-thru sign was hit with the anarchist symbol.

The Wells Fargo branch at East Grace and Second streets. (Michael Schwartz)

More prevalent than broken glass in the Arts District is the graffiti that’s been sprayed on a majority of buildings.

Everything from office buildings to apartments to retail shops were tagged. The federal courthouse on East Broad Street was tagged with graffiti on its pillars, as were some GRTC bus stops, which continued to operate under limited hours ahead of the third evening of expected demonstrations.

The Richmond Times-Dispatch, which has had its reporters and photographers out in force throughout the uprisings, got hit with graffiti.

The trend of boarding up also spilled into Carytown as some windows were damaged during weekend vandalism and others put up plywood as a precaution.

Meanwhile, crowds continued to gather throughout the day at the monuments on Monument Avenue. The statues, which have been a point of hot debate long before the death of George Floyd and the related protests, now have their bases completely covered with colorful graffiti after three days of demonstrations.

The United Daughters of the Confederacy building on Arthur Ashe Boulevard was similarly tagged and had been set fire to, while, notably, the nearby Kehinde Wiley “Rumors of War” statue showed no signs of vandalism.

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Tim Harper
Tim Harper
3 months ago

Pray for our health care workers on the front line. There will probably be a huge second wave of Coronavirus thanks to these demonstrators and their reckless actions.

Deon Hamner
Deon Hamner
3 months ago
Reply to  Tim Harper

Blame the Minneapolis Police Officer that applied that knee on handcuffed individual for over mins. Protesting for justice and equality is just as importance as health.

Tim Harper
Tim Harper
3 months ago
Reply to  Deon Hamner

Derek Chauvin has been charged with murder, as he should have been. I don’t understand how you’re using this to justice the possibility of spreading a deadly virus.

Ed Christina
Ed Christina
3 months ago
Reply to  Tim Harper

He was not charged until the protests started, proof that protests matter.

Steve Richmond
Steve Richmond
3 months ago
Reply to  Ed Christina

To state that Derek Chauvin would not have been charged, but for the protests, is the most ignorant statement I have read in a very long time.

Brett Hunnicutt
Brett Hunnicutt
3 months ago
Reply to  Steve Richmond

So few officers who commit these heinous crimes around the country are held responsible and charged. How would this one have been any different without the pressure from the public? If there had not been a video he would still be on the beat. Do you think he would have been turned in by fellow officers? Why do you think these protests have been happening for years? There hasn’t been justice. Let me know how many officers who are responsible for the victims in the list above are sitting in jail right now and get back to me.

Steve Richmond
Steve Richmond
3 months ago

@Brett – I agree with you, Brett. The outcry and pressure from the public (but NOT the violence) is warranted, and without the video this cop would probably walk. But because we had the video and it circulated on the internet, this cop would definitely have been charged (with or without the protests) — and that was my only point.

Ed Christina
Ed Christina
3 months ago
Reply to  Steve Richmond

Then you should get out more.

Look at just about EVERY occurance.

1- Police in Richmond tear gas protestors before curfew, claim crowd was violent. Multiple video emerge, police back track, admit lie, suspend officer.

2-75 year old man in Buffalo. First police say he fell, video comes out of him being pushed, police reverse course an suspend officers.

Time after time police use force on a portion of the population as a first resort.

How many videos do you need to see ,with your own eyes, of this behaviour to admit that there is a systemic problem?

Justin Fritch
Justin Fritch
3 months ago
Reply to  Tim Harper

COVID19 cases ceased declining as of May 23rd, well before these incidents. While these demonstrations certainly will not help the spread, the reopening was already leading to increases, as expected. As of June 2nd, the 14-day trend is increasing again.

James Gait
James Gait
3 months ago

I hope the city heals and grows.

Justin Fritch
Justin Fritch
3 months ago
Reply to  James Gait

After seeing how civic leaders, police and demonstrators better worked together yesterday, with affected business owner support, I feel optimistic that we indeed will heal and grow from this.

Steve Lastoe
Steve Lastoe
3 months ago

Man, if Richmond business interests are bothered by a few incidents of property damage, they would have positively hated 400 years of systematic oppression.