By: Rasha Aridi
Richmond, Va.’s empty schools, roads, public spaces, and small businesses feel like an eery reminder of what life pre-COVID19 felt like. What used to feel like a growing and bustling city now feels quiet as Richmonders hunker down in their homes to prevent the spread of COVID19.
Deep Run High School in Henrico County, Va. is closed for the remainder of the school year, along with all other public schools in the Commonwealth. Parents and students are coping with learning at home, while teachers are adjusting to a school year away from their students. The Twin Hickory Public Library in Henrico County, Va. is closed indefinitely. Community members rely on the library for WiFi, computer access, and educational programs, which are now unavailable. YMCAs across the country are closing in light of the COVID19 pandemic. Community members rely on the Y’s gyms and pools, in addition to sports, day cares, after school programs, and clubs for children. Day cares like the Goddard School of Glen Allen were once bustling with children, but are now left empty. Toys are still scattered across the yard, evidence that both children and teachers thought that they would be returning the next day. West Broad Village, a bustling shopping and dining center in Short Pump, Va. is empty. The area is usually filled with families enjoying the music, restaurants, and spring weathe Shady Grove United Methodist Church is now advertising online worship. Churches around the world are leading virtual worship services to continue engaging with the community. Broad Street cuts through Richmond, Va. from east to west, connecting the city’s suburban outskirts with the downtown area. This photo was taken during 5 o’clock rush hour, but it didn’t seem like it. The Regal Cinema in Short Pump Town Center usually has dozens of people waiting in line for a movie ticket, but now the movie posters are empty and the box office is dark. A group of teenagers play football in front of the empty movie theater in Short Pump. With only a handful of cars in the parking lot, the teens had plenty of space to play. On a normal day, there usually isn’t a single empty parking spot. Short Pump Town Center houses nearly 150 shops and eateries, and people come from all over Virginia to shop. On a normal day, it may take a while to find an empty parking spot, but the mall was empty instead. The main square in Short Pump Town Center usually has adults drinking coffee on the patio, kids playing in the greenery, and families shopping. Instead, an elderly man sits alone outside a Capital One cafe. Small business all over the United States have been closing. Signs posted outside of VA Nails and Aegis Jiu Jitsu, both small businesses, said that they will hopefully reopen soon but are unsure when. Westwood Fountain is a Richmond staple, and the diner used to serve hundreds of customers on a given day. They’ve adjusted to serve only carry-out orders, but they are nervous about closing after only receiving 15 to 20 orders per day. Other restaurants in Richmond like Bonefish Grill adjust to curb-side carry-out, in which employees bring meals out to customers’ cars. American Family Fitness, a gym in Short Pump, is usually filled with adults and children of all ages. Gyms across the world are closing to prevent the spread of COVID19, and people are turning to at-home workouts Innsbrook is Short Pump’s business center, with office buildings that were always filled with 9-5 workers. Offices everywhere are allowing employees to work from home, which has resulted in additional stress for employees as they cope with this change.