Reporter’s Notebook: Life under shelter-in-place orders


On March 16, 2020, seven Bay Area counties announced a shelter in place to stem the coronavirus outbreak. It was the most restrictive rules in the nation. Days later, two more counties, cities and states followed suit. Below are a series of multimedia pieces by Peninsula Press staff documenting what life is like under the stay-at-home orders. By mid-May, California businesses have started to re-open, but certain counties make the call on how the process happens.

Celebrating Eid during a pandemic

Nisa Khan

Due to the coronavirus pandemic and state-wide state-at-home orders, a mosque in Bloomfield Hills, Michigan, set a “Drive-Thru Eid” to celebrate the end of the fasting month, Ramadan on May 24th, 2020. The Muslim Unity Center announced the Eid al-Fitr event on their Facebook page, with a sign-up sheet that was completely filled out by the next day.

The masjid set up a pathway spiraling through their parking lot, allowing cars to drive through and stop by “stations” along the way, picking up food, candy, and drinks. Throughout the visit, passengers would roll down their windows to yell “Eid Mubarak!” to the mosque’s volunteers. With over a hundred families showing up, music was playing and spirits were high.

Mosques across the country have also participated in “Drive-Thru” celebrations, from New York to Florida to New Jersey, allowing the community to get together in a safe way.

Long line of cars
A long line of cars wait outside a mosque in BloomfieldHills, Michigan, Sunday, May 24. (PeninsulaPress/Nisa Khan)
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Small business owners in San Antonio, Texas discuss their thoughts on health vs. wealth amid the pandemic

Kiana Williams

Rachel Conaway, operator of a hair salon, and Ray Caldwell, who runs basketball events for girls, both halted their businesses during Texas’ coronavirus shutdown.

Note: The author is a customer of Conway’s and has played basketball for Caldwell.

Ray Caldwell coaching
Kiana Williams pictured with her coach Ray Caldwell in July 2014 at a basketball tournament in San Antonio, Texas. (@SAFinestbball/Twitter)
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San Mateo County deputy on shelter-in-place order enforcement

Amy Xiong

San Mateo County in northern California has had a shelter-in-place order for nearly two months and it has been some of the strictest regulations in the country. Sgt. Ron Albertson, who works for the San Mateo County Sheriff’s Office, is stationed at the Moss Beach Substation along Highway 1. He shares how the sheriff’s office is enforcing the rules and the reaction from community members and visitors.

Sidewalk Art

Vanessa Ochavillo

Children and their families have left out chalk drawings and encouraging messages to essential workers throughout the Historic District in Sunnyvale. In neighborhoods throughout the US, chalk art and homemade signs have become ubiquitous during shelter-in-place orders.

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Chalk drawings line the walkway of a home in Sunnyvale, Calif. May 6, 2020. (Vanessa Ochavillo/Peninsula Press)
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Texas musician, student continues to thrive while quarantining

Alexa Luckey

In the world absent of COVID-19, award winning artist, Damoyee Janai, could be found working on new music in a recording studio, performing at one of the country’s many music venues, or studying in Boston at Berklee College of Music.

With colleges and universities shifting to virtual learning and the closing of venues, Janai returned to the Dallas-Fort Worth Metroplex, where she has continued to release her magical sounds to the world through a number of virtual music festivals and Instagram live sessions.

In this interview, Damoyee discussed how she is using this unique time to further develop her sound, study new musical genres, and grow as an individual.

Public parks during the shelter-in-place

Tylar Campbell

With California’s statewide stay-at-home order still in full effect, parents must find other ways to entertain their children. Most play areas at public parks are closed, cautioned off like a crime scenes. Attention signs warn that violators of the counties orders will result in a misdemeanor for offenders.

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Stanford’s shelter-in-place

By Noah Cortez

About 600 undergraduate students have been permitted to remain on Stanford’s campus during the 2020 spring quarter because of the coronavirus crisis. Santa Clara County has imposed a mandatory shelter-in-place policy that severely limits the ability to go outside except for essential outings. The following set of photos is a collection of a day in the life of an undergraduate remaining on campus during COVID-19.

Rodin statues at Main Quad in Stanford, Calif., Monday, Apr. 13, 2020. (Noah Cortez/Peninsula Press)
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Moss Beach

By Amy Xiong

Amy Xiong, a first year Master’s Student in Design Impact at Stanford University, captures the following photos. She is currently sheltering in place in Moss Beach with nine other members of her cohort. This photo series documents her experience living in a small and fairly isolated community during the COVID-19 crisis, as well as, her and her classmates’ educational experience during the spring quarter.

A community member paints a seascape during the COVID-19 shelter-in-place. I’ve seen him painting in this spot for the second day in a row, and would like to go talk to him, but am not sure what is appropriate during this time. There were lots of people outside taking in nature on Wednesday, April 15, 2020 during a rare sunny day in Moss Beach, Calif. (Amy Xiong/Peninsula Press)
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Sunnyvale farmers market

By Vanessa Ochavillo

The Sunnyvale farmers market happens every Saturday — even during the pandemic. The farmers and the other vendors selling baked goods and hot meals are essential businesses according to the state shelter-in-place mandate. But operations are not unchanged. Some vendors have elected to prepackage their goods. Others are simply relying on buyers to temper their handling of fresh produce. All are careful to maintain a six-foot distance from those around them.

Signage at the Sunnyvale farmers market
Shoppers at the farmers market in downtown Sunnyvale, Calif., are reminded about social distancing and other healthy shopping tips, including “shop with your eyes, buy what you touch.” April 11, 2020. (Vanessa Ochavillo/Peninsula Press)
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Emptiness on Caltrain and California Avenue

By Tylar Campbell

This notebook explores how people are navigating the world around them in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic. Photos taken on April 16, 2020 of California Avenue reveals the emptiness and lack of people riding public transportation. Although many people are abiding by the stay-at-home order put in place by Gov. Gavin Newsom, the same rules do not apply for those deemed as essential workers.

California Ave stores
Empty stores on California Avenue on Friday, April 7, 2020. (Tylar Campbell/Peninsula Press)
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