Some businesses in King County, already under limited operations due to the coronavirus pandemic, were urged Monday by local governments and police to close early and barricade stores ahead of possible looting.

Kirkland city officials recommended all businesses close at 1 p.m. and secure valuable items in their stores. The city planned to issue an emergency proclamation Monday afternoon, but did not intend to impose a curfew.

Kirkland Mayor Penny Sweet said in a statement that the City Council “appreciates all of the individuals that are exercising their free speech rights to peacefully speak out against the murder of George Floyd and the ongoing racial inequities that exist in our society. It is unfortunate that a criminal element is seizing on this opportunity to engage in looting and other destructive activities. We hope that community members and business owners will join us in implementing precautionary measures to protect our community.”

Lynnwood police said they were closing access to Alderwood Mall, where stores are already closed, at the request of the mall’s management.

“We have become aware of potential groups bent on causing property damage and theft at Alderwood Mall,” the Police Department said in an early afternoon statement.

Retailers at University Village in Seattle were seen in videos posted to social media boarding up stores. A representative for the shopping center did not respond to requests for comment and a person answering the phone at the security office there said they were “not at liberty to answer any questions” and hung up.

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The University of Washington Police Department confirmed that a protest is scheduled for 3 p.m. Monday at University Village.

Kirkland City Manager Kurt Triplett said in a news release issued Monday morning that the city had received reports that it “is a possible target for looting and destruction” and that the early closure recommendation was issued “out of an abundance of caution.”

Kirkland city spokesperson Kellie Stickney said that the city was monitoring social media channels. She added that the city believed a protest would occur Monday in downtown Kirkland and that “other commercial areas are vulnerable given what has occurred in other communities.”

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