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Luxury Retailers Are Boarding Up Storefronts Amid Coronavirus Outbreak

Luxury Retailers Are Boarding Up Store Fronts Amid Coronavirus Outbreak
A closed Sephora store on New York City’s 9th Avenue is shown boarded up with plywood on March 28, 2020. Lev Radin/Pacific Press/Shutterstock

With the majority of states experiencing temporary closures of nonessential businesses amid the coronavirus outbreak, luxury retailers have been boarding up their storefronts in New York City, Los Angeles, Washington D.C. and other major shopping areas.

Related: See How the Stars Do At-Home Style During the Coronavirus Outbreak

Designer brands like Louis Vuitton, Dior, Jimmy Choo, Fendi, Sephora and others have started covering their windows in wooden boards in Manhattan neighborhoods like Soho, Times Square and Meatpacking, while L.A.’s Rodeo Drive has followed suit. The reason for this dramatic reaction is in preparation for possible looting, riots and civil unrest. After all, in 2018, high-end windows of retailers were smashed during the Yellow Vest protests in Paris.

Executive director of the Soho Broadway Initiative business improvement district Mark Dicus asked that storefronts avoid this and use other forms of protection such as hiring security.

Related: See How Fashion Designers are Fighting COVID-19 — From Producing Face Masks to Making Generous Donations

“We’re encouraging property owners and retailers to keep those storefronts untouched and to keep the lights on at night,” Dicus said in a statement to the Real Deal. “We want to maintain a sense of normalcy and make sure our neighborhoods are safe. We feel there are ways to take care of that without resorting to drastic measures like boarding up storefronts.”

Meanwhile, Jeffrey LeFrancois, the Executive Director of the Meatpacking BID, commissioned Theresa Rivera Design to create a beautiful mural for Sephora’s boarded up storefront. In a LinkedIn post LeFrancois wrote, “We’re all dealing with a lot of unknowns right now, but it feels really good to turn lemons into lemonade.” According to Theresa Rivera Design, many more BIDs have contacted the company, including a Fifth Avenue job they’ll be completing over the weekend.

Luxury Retailers Are Boarding Up Store Fronts Amid Coronavirus Outbreak
A worker paints over a boarded up Louis Vuitton storefront in San Francisco on March 30, 2020. Ben Margot/AP/Shutterstock

These U.S. destinations aren’t the only places nailing up plywood. Union Square in San Francisco and the Magnificent Mile in Chicago have also walled up their storefronts. However, this trend follows European cities like London and Milan, where the New York Times reported luxe merchandise is no longer visible. Harrods and Selfridges as well as Bond Street boutiques like Burberry and Chopard, have cleared jewels and other valuable items.

“Boarding up your storefront makes it so that people on the street can’t see inside. That might be more appealing to those looking for break in opportunities,” Dicus told the New York Times, adding that this method could add to neighbors’ anxieties during an already stressful time.

Given the constantly evolving nature of COVID-19, Us Weekly wants our readers to have access to the most accurate resources. For the most up-to-date coronavirus information, guidance, and support, consult the CDC, WHO, and information from local public health officials. If you’re experiencing coronavirus symptoms, call your primary care provider for medical advice.

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