Businesses React to G-8 Security - WTOC-TV: Savannah, Beaufort, SC, News, Weather & Sports

06/10/04

Businesses React to G-8 Security

One of the biggest threats to international events like the G-8 summit are the protesters. If you've ever seen what protesters from past G-8 summits have done, you'll understand why many businesses closed down this week. Now that the summit's wrapped up, many businesses owners are relieved that things will be getting back to normal, but most are saying all the hype about protesters was not overrated.

Throughout the downtown area, many businesses boarded up their windows and closed up shop fearing the worst, but other businesses decided to gut it out and stay open. "I had faith in human nature," said Gerald Shantz of Aurora Stained Glass. "I was just hoping for the best."

At most, what the downtown area saw was a small group of protesters and the presence of law enforcement officers that were ready to handle so much more. "When we saw the police and the National Guard, it made us feel more comfortable, really we haven't been worried since then," said Donna Israel of Belford's.

So did businesses shut down because of all the hype? After we spoke with several business owners, many of them said they did decide to close down because of protesters, but other people thought the G-8 was a great excuse to catch up on things like inventory or take a vacation.

Knowing that history does have a tendency to repeat itself, many business owners kept G-8s from the past in mind.

"Form past history of G-8 and the world organizational meetings, they've destroyed towns," said Shantz. "Look at what they did to Seattle, they didn't do it in Calgary because they had 30,000 officers there, so I think the officers were an insurance policy we didn't need to cash in."

Even thought there weren't that many protesters, many business owners say they were glad to see the protection that was offered.

Reported by: Nicole Teigen, nteigen@wtoc.com

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