Downtown Madison businesses prepare for potential unrest

Published: Jan. 15, 2021 at 6:16 PM CST
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MADISON, Wis. (WMTV) - While Acting Madison Police Chief Vic Wahl said there is no specific threat to Wisconsin’s capital city, businesses along downtown Madison’s square took precautions Friday ahead of any potential unrest into the weekend and through inauguration day.

The co-owner of The Old Fashioned and owner of Harvest, Tami Lax, said they are not boarding up their windows and are hoping for peaceful demonstrations.

“We’ve got our fingers crossed, and we are praying that this is some healthy protesting and it doesn’t turn into any sort of riot,” Lax said.

Lax said, while they are always closed on Sundays, they will remain closed through Wednesday as a precautionary measure.

“Our goal is to make sure staff, our community and customers are safe, and at this point we aren’t seeing any signs of anything other than that,” she said.

On Monday workers covered the state’s Capitol Building first-floor windows to stay on the safe side. At least one other business followed suit on Friday afternoon. Acting Madison Police Chief Vic Wahl said they are monitoring a national call for armed groups to march on state capitols ahead of inauguration day.

“We are working with our partners both state and federally to make sure we have the best information and intelligence available,” he said.

MPD will partner with other agencies, including Capitol Police, to enhance security and staffing.

”After what we saw at the U.S. Capitol last week, I think everybody, myself included, is certainly unsettled by watching that and certainly recognizes the need to be a little bit more vigilant,” he said.

Wahl said there is one planned event Sunday morning that could possibly block traffic. Several community groups are organizing what is being called an ‘anti-fascist’ event, according to Facebook.

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