Photos: Quiet spaces in the time of coronavirus

Share story

Two people in the senate gallery
Minnesota State Senators practice social distancing by finding their seats in the gallery Thursday as legislators convened to discuss a $330 million COVID-19 bill. Senators were spread out amongst the gallery and conference rooms.
Evan Frost | MPR News

Governments, institutions and businesses big and small all have put measures into place to combat the spread of the coronavirus. In a time of social distancing and self isolation, spaces that normally would be filled with people and the sounds of activity sit empty and quiet.

Lockers and tables in an empty room.
Normally filled with busy and energetic second graders, a classroom at Lester Park Elementary in Duluth sits empty and silent Wednesday, March 18 during the first day of the state-ordered shutdown of schools as part of efforts to combat the spread of the coronavirus.
Derek Montgomery for MPR News

A sign reads "BWC closes Monday, March 16 until further notice"
The Burns Wellness Commons at the College of St. Scholastica closed to students and staff Monday, March 16 as part of efforts to combat the spread of the coronavirus.
Derek Montgomery for MPR News

Bartender Tom Farrell slowly walks the length of the bar Tuesday, March 17 at Dubh Linn Irish Brew Pub in Duluth, Minn. on St. Patrick's Day, which is usually one of their busiest days of the year. Instead, per orders from Governor Tim Walz, all restaurants and bars were ordered to cease dine-in services at 5 p.m. on St. Patrick's Day. Owner Mike Maxim admits the decision will hurt sales, but concedes it was the right decision. "I have over 600 pounds of corned beef that I have to figure out what to do with," Maxim said when talking about what the closure on St. Patrick's Day means for the pub. Derek Montgomery for MPR News

A concrete lion wears a mask in front of a house.
A concrete lion wears a mask in front of a house on St. Clair Avenue in St. Paul Thursday, March 26.
Megan Burks | MPR News

Roads are devoid of traffic.
Interstate 94 is quiet with few cars on the road during typical morning rush hour time on Thursday, March 19 in Minneapolis. The Minnesota Department of Transportation says it has seen a 27 percent decrease in traffic volume on the freeway system as more people stay home to mitigate the spread of COVID-19.
Chris Juhn for MPR News

Sill Arena at the Essentia Duluth Heritage Center sits empty minutes before a state-imposed shutdown Tuesday, March 17, 2020 in Duluth, Minn. The facility was closed down as part of efforts to combat the spread of the coronavirus. Derek Montgomery for MPR News

Across Minnesota, places of worship were closing their doors to parishioners as part of efforts to combat the spread of the coronavirus. Here, Peace in Christ Lutheran Church Pastor Timothy J. Ludwig addresses an online audience with updates on what's happening at the church from inside a nearly empty building Sunday, March 22, 2020 in Hermantown, Minn. at a time when the church would normally be filled with over 200 people for Sunday morning services, bible study and Sunday school. Derek Montgomery for MPR News

An informational flyer is tacked to a red and yellow pole.
A flyer with information about mitigating the spread of COVID-19 is tacked to a pole at the University of Minnesota campus on Thursday, March 19. The system suspended in-person instruction across the five campuses and moved to online instruction as a precaution against COVID-19.
Chris Juhn for MPR News

A skyway is empty of people.
The skyway into the IDS Center in downtown Minneapolis is empty of people on Thursday, March 19, amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
Chris Juhn for MPR News

A large lecture hall sits empty Tuesday, March 17, 2020 at the College of St. Scholastica in Duluth, Minn. The day before the college moved all classes online in an effort to combat the spread of the coronavirus. Derek Montgomery for MPR News

A man behind a window.
Northern Waters Smokehaus employee Tyler Bonam organizes delivery orders Wednesday, March 18 in Duluth as their regular dining area was converted to a space to organize delivery and carryout orders. As bars and restaurants were ordered to cease dine-in services, Northern Waters Smokehaus owner Eric Goerdt went to work on a new business model to reflect the new reality facing his business with the goal of continuing to employ every worker who would normally be working. He stopped using food delivery services and asked his workers to start delivering while expanding the delivery zone to almost every corner of Duluth.
Derek Montgomery for MPR News

At Promise Preschool, a space where students normally gather for story time sits silent and empty Tuesday, March 17, 2020 as the school's teachers decided to follow the local district's lead and suspend classes until at least May 4 in an effort to combat the spread of the coronavirus. Derek Montgomery for MPR News

Light shines on a nearly empty mall.
Shoppers wander through the Mall of America hours before it closed due to the coronavirus in Bloomington on Tuesday, March 17.
Evan Frost | MPR News

Various signs on doors.
A collection of signs taken between March 17-19 shows the closures of and efforts taken by Duluth businesses as part of efforts to stem the spread of the coronavirus.
Derek Montgomery for MPR News

An empty photo studio
The Three Irish Girls Photography studio is quiet as photographer Sharon McMahon canceled indoor and outdoor sessions because her business is not considered essential during the two-week shutdown. McMahon canceled indoor sessions earlier in the month as many service industries and non-essential in-person meetings were strongly discouraged by health experts as part of measures to combat the spread of the coronavirus.
Derek Montgomery for MPR News

Light shines on a person walking through ropes.
A traveler walks straight to the front of empty TSA checkpoint at MSP airport on Tuesday, March 17, 2020.
Evan Frost | MPR News

As efforts to combat the spread of the coronavirus pick up, owner Jessica Rossing of Movo Studio in downtown Duluth decided early on that she would be closing her studio space to the public as part of social distancing efforts. Here, her studio sits silent and empty Thursday, March 19, 2020 in Duluth, Minn. Derek Montgomery for MPR News

An empty track
During a time when track athletes might be practicing, the field house at the College of St. Scholastica is devoid of students and staff Tuesday, March 17 as the university canceled all spring sports and moved all classes online in an effort to combat the spread of the coronavirus.
Derek Montgomery for MPR News

An empty parking lot.
The parking lot of Ridgedale mall in Minnetonka, Minn., is empty on Wednesday, March 25.
Evan Frost | MPR News

A marquee sign reads "Stay healthy. See you again soon."
The Paramount Center for the Arts marquee offers a little word of encouragement Friday March 20 in downtown St. Cloud, Minn.
Paul Middlestaedt for MPR News

Before you go...

MPR News is dedicated to bringing you clarity in coverage from our reporters across the state, stories that connect us, and conversations that provide perspectives when we need it most. We rely on your help to do this. Your donation has the power to keep MPR News strong and accessible to all during this crisis and beyond.