EL DORADO HILLS (CBS13) — Counties across the area are shutting down access to town centers.

County leaders are hoping to keep potential looters and rioters out of town, in anticipation of protests happening over the weekend.

“I fear for my boys, and I shouldn’t have to,” said Sara Cormier, from El Dorado Hills.

She was part of a small, peaceful protest in Town Center on Thursday.

“This gets me a little emotional because I am the mom of these two, two beautiful black boys, now something has to change,” she said.

Despite the size of this gathering, the sheriff’s office says they are preparing for any civil unrest that might happen into the weekend.

Their strategy to protect the community, in part, is to shut access to highway 50 off-ramps.

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“We live in a beautiful area, a beautiful community, but we want to keep it that way, keep it safe,” said Tulane Emery, Facilities Manager for the Town Center.

Leaders say these off-ramps at Silva Parkway are closed, until Monday morning. Town Center Boulevard has been barricaded, and closed off in the evening, with select businesses boarding up storefronts.

They say it protects businesses and the public from any looters or riots. But, it could also deter visitors from visiting these shops and restaurants.

“It’s challenging for everybody,” said Melanie Sweeney, owner of Nibblers, a candy shop in town.

She says it’s better to be safe than sorry.

“I think it’s better to run on the cautious side, then have the massive amounts of damage we’ve seen in these other cities,” she said.

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Even in light of COVID-19 closures, which Sweeney says has done its own damage to business in town.

“Business is definitely down, everybody has cut hours,” said Sweeney. “Some think it’s overkill but when it comes to property damage and these businesses are struggling as it is just to hold on until whatever the new normal is.”

It’s the same story in Placerville and Roseville where off and on-ramps bringing you into town have also been closed this week.

The closures in El Dorado Hills are in place until Monday morning at 6 a.m.

Marissa Perlman

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