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.

Nurse Laura Zimmerman receives her first injection of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine at the VA Palo Alto Health Care System on Dec. 16. Photo by Federica Armstrong.

Corte Madera School fifth graders wash their hands after lunch in Portola Valley on Nov. 10; Corte Madera School fifth graders Campbell and Alphie chat while social distancing during recess after lunch in Portola Valley on Nov. 10.

Parker Bates cleans a booth moments after a voter used the space to complete a ballot at the Palo Alto Art Center in Palo Alto on Nov. 3.

Hand sanitizer sits next to "I Voted Today" stickers in the Mountain View Community Center vote center on Nov. 3; Anita Sharma, left, and Jacqueline Cristino work the polling center at the Rinconada Library in Palo Alto on Nov. 3, 2020. Photo by Olivia Treynor.

Aurelie Harou drops off her ballot outside of Menlo Park City Hall on Oct. 27. Photo by Olivia Treynor.

Henry Nesmith receives a nasal swab test from registered nurse Maria Turner at a COVID-19 testing site in the Center for Performing Arts in Mountain View on Sept. 15; Laura Forrest adjusts a plastic shower liner in front of her porch to separate herself from trick-or-treaters on Oct. 20 ahead of Halloween, when she planned to send candy down a chute she built in Palo Alto.

Principal Alain Camou greets a student arriving off a bus at Las Lomitas Elementary School in Atherton on Oct. 19. Photo by Olivia Treynor.

Oak Knoll Elementary School first graders snack while socially distanced from each other at the start of recess at the Menlo Park school on Sept. 29. All students must sit 6 feet apart and face the same direction. After eating, they sanitize their hands and play in a predetermined area on campus: the field, the blacktop or the playground.

Synapse School teacher Hannah Gallagher reads to a class of third- and fourth-graders in an outdoor classroom in a fenced-off courtyard on the Menlo Park campus on Sept. 16; Santa Rita Elementary School first grade teacher Jennifer Finley reads to her students in a designated outdoor space for her class in Los Altos on Oct. 12.

Signs behind Los Robles-Ronald McNair Academy kindergartener Clara remind students and staff to socially distance and to wear a mask at all times in East Palo Alto on Sept. 16.

First grader Baiyan applies some hand sanitizer after eating a snack at Herbert Hoover Elementary School in Palo Alto on Oct. 12; Instructional aide Timothy Yung works with Marilyn Kolar, a postsecondary student, in the Palo Alto school district's Futures program, at Cubberley Community Center in Palo Alto on Sept. 11.

An incoming Menlo-Atherton High School freshman walks past the high school's masked bear statue during a freshman check-in day on the Atherton campus on Aug. 12.

The Rev. Ted Magpayo shares a prayer during an outdoor mass at Church of the Nativity in Menlo Park on Aug. 6; A group of teenagers sit in socially distanced seats in a Menlo Park backyard while watching "Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides" on Aug. 16.

Students work on activities from socially distanced desks at Greene Middle School on July 9. They are attending Palo Alto Unified's Extended School Year program, which serves students with moderate to severe disabilities.

Ruben Ponce packs cucumbers for customer Patricia Brent at the Ponce Produce booth at the East Palo Alto Community Farmers' Market located at Bloomhouse in East Palo Alto on Aug. 5. As a safety precaution, customers and vendors must stay a minimum of 6 feet apart, and shoppers are not allowed to touch the produce; The Statue of Liberty replica, typically inside Buck's Restaurant, stands in the outdoor dining area with a mask over her face in Woodside on July 31.

Gina Hampton cuts Kathy Berra's hair at DJ's Hair Design Inc. in Menlo Park on July 8.

Diners eat at tables on the street along California Avenue in Palo Alto on June 25; A masked server brings out plates of food to customers eating in an outdoor patio at The Village Pub in Woodside on July 6.

A worker can be seen grilling food from The Village Pub's dining room where customers dine indoors in Woodside on July 6.

A waiter walks past empty tables inside Ristorante Don Giovanni to serve customers dining outdoors in downtown Mountain View on July 2.

Customers fill Bistro Vida's outdoor tables for lunch in downtown Menlo Park on June 9; Demonstrators walk past a couple dining at Rooh in downtown Palo Alto on June 19.

Mountain View High School football players stretch at the end of a conditioning practice on the high school's football field on June 24.

Mountain View High School graduate Cole Mueller is filmed walking up the podium on the school's football field bleachers, where graduates typically sit during graduation ceremonies, on June 4. The school created a graduation video for its graduating seniors.

A Menlo-Atherton High School graduating senior waves at a teacher during the school's graduation car parade through the Atherton campus on June 3; Woodside High School graduates and their families drive by school staff and teachers during the graduation car parade through the school's parking lot on June 5.

Deborah and Lonnie Ashton sit in their front yard and cheer as Paly graduates Sophie Stier, Ivory Tang and Kailee Correll march through their Palo Alto neighborhood on June .

Dolly Lee, a Reach Potential volunteer, places bags of produce and dried goods into Rosalia Gil's cart at the nonprofit's grocery pickup site at Castro Elementary School on June 1; A Los Altos High School graduate waves to staff during a car parade to congratulate seniors on June 2.

Muzammil Iqbal, Navaid Asad and Atef Ghori figure out which prepackaged meal to place in a car that has just pulled up to a drive-thru iftar during Ramadan at the Mountain View-Palo Alto Musalla in Mountain View on May 22; People fill out forms while standing in line for a COVID-19 test at a Santa Clara County mobile testing site at Rengstorff Park in Mountain View on May 27.

Medical staff take turns posing on Santa Clara County Sheriff's Office motorcycles outside the main entrance of El Camino Hospital on May 6. Members of the Mountain View, Sunnyvale, Palo Alto and Santa Clara police departments, as well as sheriff's deputies and Sunnyvale firefighters, were all present to thank the medical staff for their work during the coronavirus pandemic.

Alli Miller and Grace Lindstrom pick up food donations while Gretchen Berndt walks to place dry and canned goods in specific piles at a food drive in Palo Alto organized by Paly students on April 29; A man walks past CVS Pharmacy in downtown Palo Alto on April 29.

Residents cheer, wave, clap and bang pots and pans from their balconies to thank Channing House staff for their work in keeping them safe during the novel coronavirus crisis at a staff appreciation event at the Palo Alto retirement community on April 16.

Tenisha Benavidez, Adobe Animal Hospital lead assistant for the Outpatient Department, and April Smeraldo, a registered veterinary technician at the animal hospital, help stabilize Mack, a dog with problems in his legs, on a gurney that Jeanne Salem, founder of 360 Pet Cab, is holding in place outside the hospital in Los Altos on April 15; Eric Woodman tries to get his wife, Marty Woodman, who has Alzheimer's disease, to look at him through a fence as she is assisted by Linda Mittelstadt, activity director at Silver Oaks Memory Care, and Paula Trujillo, a caregiver, at the Menlo Park assisted living facility on April 15.

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.