Matthew Nelson, the owner of Mangos Caribbean Restaurant, in Atlanta, looked out for those stranded when early curfews went into effect, and mass transit was shut down, calling Uber cars for his employees. “I support the protest, but I don’t support any rioting and violence,” said Mr. Nelson, who saw protesters being arrested outside his restaurant.
After the demonstrations in Atlanta on Friday, Michael Davis, the general manager of BQE Restaurant and Lounge, said people were scared to go out.
“A vast majority of our customers are African-American and people of color,” he said. “We don’t want to come out because of the virus, and now we don’t want to come out because of the police brutality.”
After months of lockdown, and the sudden reopening of dining rooms in many cities, restaurants have been met with fast-changing curfew schedules, on top of public transportation shutdowns, many in neighborhoods now patrolled by the National Guard.
Back in downtown Los Angeles, after he finished boarding up his windows, Mr. Centeno checked the schedule of protest routes against city curfews. He knew that some of his staff might be among the demonstrators, holding up homemade signs, kneeling in front of police barricades with their hands up, running from tear gas, desperate to make themselves heard.
“For now the safest thing is to stay closed,” he said. “But we’ll see how tomorrow looks.”
Brett Anderson, Priya Krishna, Amelia Nierenberg and Pete Wells contributed reporting.