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COVID-19: San Francisco

COVID-19: San Francisco

. 4 min read

After examining the effects of COVID-19 on the San Mateo community, I decided to take it a step further and document the changes of San Francisco. Plenty of photos of COVID San Francisco have already been posted, but I wanted to examine the topic with a more "micro" lens, mostly focusing on changes in more places that are considered ordinary.

Similar to San Mateo, the majority of shops in downtown and busy areas were boarded up during this period of time. The ones that weren't boarded ended up getting looted during the protest a couple of weeks later. After that, literally, every shop became boarded up. Additionally, with the quarantine in effect, there was a disproportionate amount of homeless people versus other people. The only people still wandering around downtown seemed to be either the homeless people that have nowhere to go or the people that had to do essential errands.

I think the most surprising observation was that so many businesses got wiped out by the forced shutdown. Both on Market Street and around 4th and King Caltrain station were full of empty buildings looking for new lease contracts. I can't believe how with just 1-2 months of quarantine resulted in so many businesses going under. It's as if these businesses never considered the possibility of an economic downturn. It's also possible it would be easier and cheaper to just restart again after the shutdown rather than to lose money during the shutdown. I'm no businessman and either way, combined with the previously mentioned changes, it made downtown San Francisco almost feel like an apocalyptic ghost town.

However, the parks and open space in the suburb parts of San Francisco were filled with life with families were gathering together walking around the neighborhood. Certain roads and regions were closed to expand the area of public space for people. Dolores Park was just as packed, it almost feels like all the people in downtown just migrated to parks. It's refreshing to see that there's still life in the city and the mood isn't all gloom and doom.

Empty streets outside the Caltrain station.
Napping man, walking pigeon, man getting a haircut.
Empty Peet's. This place is usually is packed.
Empty Muni station.
Even before the protests, Westfield Mall has already had tall boards up.
I've never seen the cable tracks so empty.
Man watching the ocean.