Life under the coronavirus

Neighbors, businesses and public agencies cope with the health crisis

On March 2, Stanford Theatre in downtown Palo Alto announced a temporary closure until further notice as the total of local coronavirus cases rises. Photo by Sammy Dallal.

How people respond to crisis can be seen as a measure of character, as well as of common sense, resilience and determination. Those traits are on full display in our community as residents and others who work and volunteer on the Midpeninsula don masks, take precautions while traveling to their destinations, find respite from their worries in the outdoors and otherwise perform everyday tasks in order to take care of their families and friends.

Our visual journalist, Magali Gauthier, has captured images of people coping with the COVID-19 threat that has disrupted our lives. Here are some of those photos. We’ll be updating this page weekly as the crisis continues.

In a nearly-empty sanctuary, Lorena Cuffy films the Rev. Kaloma Smith offer a prayer between singers Larin Smith and Sandra Habtamu during University AME Zion Church's Easter service in Palo Alto on April 12. The service was live streamed at 9:25 a.m. on Easter Sunday and viewed about 900 times.

A disposable mask and gloves are left in a 99 Ranch Market shopping cart in a parking lot in Mountain View on April 13; A mural, based off of the U.S. Marines War Memorial, depicts a doctor and other essential workers hoisting the American flag in the front yard of a house in Mountain View on April 9.

Filip Vanacht watches as his blood is drawn by Tim Preston, a recent graduate from the physician assistant program at Stanford School of Medicine, and Claire Donnat assists at a COVID-19 antibody testing site in Mountain View on April 4; Mark Comeau, the head embalmer at Spangler Mortuary, wears protective eyewear, a mask and a face shield to prep a body at the mortuary in Mountain View on April 7. Comeau said the main difference between the safety gear he wears now and that which he wore before the novel coronavirus crisis are the goggles under his face shield. He also wears a one-time-use full-body protective suit, though he used to typically wear a smock when preparing bodies.

Alyssa Weaver, a second-year physician assistant student at Stanford School of Medicine, draws blood from a participant at a COVID-19 antibody testing site in Mountain View on April 4.

Two YMCA youth development staffers watch over six children in the gymnasium of the YMCA in Mountain View on April 2. The children are spaced out at different tables in an effort to physically distance them from one another. YMCA Silicon Valley is offering child care to the children of medical personnel and first responders in Santa Clara County, including those who work at El Camino Health's hospitals in Mountain View and Los Gatos.

Karen Himmaugh rings up Barbara Bunker's groceries at Piazza's Fine Foods in Palo Alto on April 9; Howard Kushlan walks Miles, a dog that belongs to two local seniors, in Menlo Park on April 1. After posting a message on social media alerting neighbors that he was willing to help anyone in need during the coronavirus outbreak, Kushlan has spent most of his days walking neighbors’ dogs, shopping and doing just about anything that’s needed.

James Wolf, an intake specialist for Dignity on Wheels, cleans and prepares a shower on the mobile laundry and shower trailer out in front of Community Services Agency in Mountain View on March 24. The mobile shower program is available outside CSA every Tuesday from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m.

Fabian Berber hands a customer a bag of purchased food at Portola Valley's new drive-thru farmers market, SAFE Market, on its opening day on March 26. SAFE stands for Sanitary Allocation of Food Essentials. The market handed out 440 orders on its opening day; Laurie Bacastow shows Stanford medical student Michelle Zhang the opened box of masks she wants to donate at a personal protective equipment donation drive that Stanford medical students organized in the Stanford Shopping Center parking lot by Neiman Marcus on March 27.

A car pulls up to the Menlo Medical Clinic drive-thru COVID-19 testing tent on Middlefield Road in Menlo Park on March 20.

Jamie Kerr, an Alice's Restaurant co-owner, rings up customer Rachael Garcia in Woodside on March 20. The restaurant is still open for takeout and limited deliveries; Daphne Sashin, and her children Lucy Horowitz, 5, and Jack Horowitz, 8, work on a chalk mural on their driveway in Mountain View on March 20. About 47 homes around the Cuesta neighborhood created a series of murals with chalk outside their homes. Photo by Sammy Dallal.

Ada Braun shops at Bianchini's Market in Portola Valley on March 20. Photo by Sammy Dallal.

A woman walks past an Atherton house with sheets of paper spelling out “Hi Friends” on March 20.

A pedestrian and a dog walk in front of a house with the message “HOWDY NEIGHBORS! WE MISS U STAY SAFE” in downtown Palo Alto on March 19; Kenneth Looney plays pickleball by himself at the Mitchell Park outdoor squash courts in Palo Alto on March 19; Rush hour at the intersection of El Camino Real and Page Mill Road in Palo Alto, which is normally packed with traffic, on March 19.

A group of people walk around Bedwell Bayfront Park by a very empty Bayfront Expressway in Menlo Park on March 19.

Zoua Her and Lene Lauese, staff members at Ecumenical Hunger Program, put bags of produce in a client’s car outside the nonprofit’s office in East Palo Alto on March 19; Sunita de Tourreil looks for some disinfectant at Whole Foods Market in downtown Palo Alto on March 18.

Dianne Jenett, 72, talks to her friend Sunita de Tourreil, who brought her groceries from Whole Foods Market in downtown Palo Alto on March 18. The two friends chat while keeping a safe amount of space between them.

Luis Magana, 16, picks up a computer from Andy Pascual at Menlo-Atherton High School on March 19. Photo by Sammy Dallal; A teacher adds third grade homework packets to a box at a drive-thru set up outside Gabriela Mistral Elementary in Mountain View on March 18.

Two VTA workers clean a bus at the Mountain View train station on March 18.

A woman walks past a marquee outside Greene Middle School that reads “Spread kindness not germs :)” in Palo Alto on March 18.

Notices of canceled public meetings pinned to a board outside City Hall on March 18; A pedestrian wearing a mask crosses Castro Street the morning of March 18; Pedestrians, one wearing a mask as protection from the coronavirus, walk down an unusually quiet University Avenue in Palo Alto after a shutdown order took effect on March 17. Photo by Sammy Dallal

Civic Center Plaza in Mountain View is empty on the morning on March 18. Staff who provide nonessential city services were sent home.

Tom Culbertson, right, and his son, Owen Longstreth, 16, play the vuvuzela to alert neighbors it’s time to come outside to do a "daily wave," in which they step out to wave to each other at 6 p.m. in Palo Alto on March 17. Photo by Sammy Dallal.

Taverna executive sous chef Kevin Nordloff places roasted chicken in to-go containers in the Palo Alto restaurant's kitchen on March 17. The Palo Alto restaurant launched takeout while in-person dining is suspended due to the Bay Area shelter-in-place order; Victor Becerra hands a customer their order on the curb outside State of Mind Public House & Pizzeria in Los Altos on March 17. The restaurant is currently open for takeout only.

Flora Sosa cleans a shelf that holds peanut butter at Draeger's Market in Menlo Park on March 16.

An empty classroom at Menlo-Atherton High School on March 16.

Customers line up outside Bay Area Gun Vault on El Camino Real in Mountain View on March 16, before the shelter-in-place order closed local businesses at 12:01 a.m. March 17; An electronic marquee reads “DISINFECT 2 PROTECT WASH YOUR HANDS” along southbound Highway 101 in Menlo Park by the Willow Road exit during commute time on March 17.

Baljit Singh, a food services employee with the Palo Alto Unified School District, distributes lunches at Gunn High School as schools remained closed because of the coronavirus on March 16. The district will provide free meals to all students during the closure. Photo by Sammy Dallal.

A woman pushes her cart past empty shelves at Target in Mountain View on March 14.

The line of hundreds of customers starts to move as Costco opens in Mountain View on the morning of March 15. The line snaked through much of the parking lot; Five people sit in a train car leaving the Menlo Park station heading north around 5 p.m. on March 13.

A custodian cleans a desk using a peroxide-based solution in a classroom at Palo Alto High School on March 6.

A woman looks at signs outside the closed Menlo Park Library after the city declared a “local state of emergency” on March 11; Stanford University senior Jeffrey Chang, 21, packs up his belongings on March 11 to move back home to Cupertino after the university asked students to leave campus in an effort to prevent the spread of the new coronavirus. Photo by Sammy Dallal.

Jarrett, right, a lobby ambassador with El Camino Hospital screens a visitor for coronavirus risk factors in Mountain View on March 3. Photo by Sammy Dallal.