Several York County businesses closed Thursday as part of a national Day without Immigrants or Day without Latinos protest designed to show the importance of Hispanic immigrants to America and its economy. Other businesses remained open, including several restaurants.
York County in the 2015 Census had at least 11,600 Hispanic residents, a 31 percent jump in just five years. In the past decade, several businesses owned by or catering to Latinos have sprung up.
Both Las Americas Supermarkets, on Cherry Road and Mount Gallant Road, were closed Thursday. The stores had signs in Spanish saying the businesses were supporting the immigration protest.
The stores were included as part of a list published by the Hola Noticias newspaper in Charlotte that showed more than 250 businesses in the region that were closed.
Both Tacos Nayarit food truck locations in Rock Hill and Indian Land were closed, as was a large mobile food service on Celanese Road that usually is packed on weekdays.
Across Cherry Road from the supermarket, El Taqueria Manhattan also was closed, with a sign saying it was closed “supporting our Latino people” and that it would re-open Friday.
Nearby, the Cricket wireless store had a sign in the window saying it was closed in support of the protest.
The owner of a York County landscaping business who employs about a dozen men, all Latinos, said all his employees took the day off to support the protest. The owner, who did not want his name or business used for fear of reprisals, said he supports his employees who are immigrants working for a better life.
“They are protesting to show they matter and are important,” the owner said. “I respect their decision.”
One of the landscape employees, from Mexico, also declined to give his name for fear of being targeted now that arrests around the country have increased. Yet he said the day was important to show how much he and other Latinos matter and that they love America.
The movement has urged people to close businesses, skip work, and not participate in the economy.
A clothing and specialty store, which caters to Latinos in the same plaza as an open Hispanic restaurant and closed Las America store, was open only for a pre-arranged appointment but closed otherwise to honor the nationwide solidarity, the owner said.
Other businesses were open, including several restaurants and a store on Celanese Road that sells Latino products. None of the employees at those places wanted to talk about the protest, yet most knew all about it from social media.