Just after the stroke of midnight on Tuesday, March 17, a shelter-in-place order went into effect in six Bay Area counties and the city of Berkeley, requiring people to stay at home save for essential activities until April 7.
The Bay Area’s theaters and concert venues closed days earlier, as concerns about limiting the spread of the coronavirus halted gatherings of over 1,000 people, then 250 people, then 100, 50 and 10. As KQED Art’s senior editor Gabe Meline put it, “Our civic life has ground to a halt.”
And yet, even in those shuttered venues and empty streets, there is beauty. KQED staff photographer Beth LaBerge captured the region’s performance spaces—usually full of activity, surrounded by crowds, backdrops to a vibrant urban bustle—eerily devoid of human life. All that remains, for the time being, are messages of support on their marquees. –Sarah Hotchkiss
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