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Cleveland Businesses Open Up As City Rolls Back Curfew Restrictions

Businesses in Cleveland’s Market District at West 25th Street have mixed feelings about the city’s curfew decisions, even as traffic comes back to the area.

The rules of the curfew have changed almost daily since it was first announced.

The West Side Market adjusted its hours on Saturday due to the protests downtown, and closed Monday in compliance with the city’s curfew. The current curfew, which restricts travel Downtown and in the Market District from 8 p.m. to 6 a.m., is in effect through Friday morning.

The market expects to be back to its regular hours through Friday under the new curfew, but rules for this weekend have not yet been announced, leaving vendors without clear answers on what to expect.

“We are day to day,” said D.W. Meats owner Don Whitaker. “We’ve got good local suppliers, so we can tweak our orders if we have to.”

Traffic at the market is back to normal after the closures, Whitaker said, and isn’t sure why the curfew was expanded to cover West 25th Street.

“Everyone be safe and take care of each other, you know, that’s all we can do right now,” Whitaker said. “Hopefully we’ll have a better world after all this is done.”

The curfew was the result of Saturday protests in Downtown Cleveland against police brutality, which began peacefully but turned violent after a clash with local police. The demonstrations were in response to the death of George Floyd, a black man who was videotaped crying out for help while a white Minneapolis police officer knelt on his neck for nearly nine minutes. The four officers involved have been fired from the Minneapolis police force and charges against them range from second-degree murder to aiding and abetting murder.

The West Side Market wasn’t the only business forced to close under Cleveland’s curfew order. Storefronts along West 25th Street changed hours this week to meet the city’s requirements, after weeks of lagging sales and foot traffic due to weeks of coronavirus restrictions.

Horizontal Books was closed Monday and Tuesday, owner David Kallevig said. He’s anticipating more changes this weekend.

“We don’t know where it’s at, is the big thing,” Kallevig said. “All my employees, I’m like, ‘This is the plan now, but if things change, things are going to change.’”

The curfew has impacted suppliers as well as the storefront, Kallevig said.

“We got all our deliveries today,” he said. “We’ve had three days’ worth of deliveries today, which is different. They normally space out pretty well.”

But as the curfew restrictions ease, Kallevig said he’s worried people will forget about the messages behind the protests.

“As everyone reopens and things start to go back to normal, we’re all going to forget about everything that happened or why it happened, or why there’s protests,” he said.

Something Different Gallery also closed in compliance with the protest order, though it didn’t impact business as much, according to owner Koula Lazar, since the gallery is usually closed on Tuesdays and has been operating with reduced hours for weeks due to the coronavirus.

“COVID-19 really impacted our business, but with this, with the protesting, so far it’s been good,” Lazar said.

Lazar boarded up the door and window on her store but does think the curfew has kept local businesses safe and protected.

“Thank God, there hasn’t been any trouble on West 25th,” Lazar said. “Plus, in the evening, you do have the National Guard on the street, so everyone feels safe and sound.”

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