Quarantined Cupertino

Photos of the city during its “shelter in place” policy

Rachel Jiang

As of March 17th, 2020, many counties in California have been ordered to “shelter in place,” meaning that individuals may not go outside with the exceptions of grocery shopping, certain jobs, takeout, medical visits and exercise while keeping a distance of six feet away from others. After the lockdown started, highways have been cleared, restaurants are empty — except for takeout — and libraries are closed.

Before and After Comparisons

On a normal day, the streets are filled with cars going back and forth from school and home. Trucks begin unloading their items to shops, restaurants and grocery stores. The street lights are constantly at work while the cars follow through. 

Now, at the intersection, the lights operate but there are no cars on the road. Without any cars, the roads almost seem unfamiliar and unrecognizable.

 

Under the bridge near Jollyman park, there is a busy highway filled with cars that rush home at night.  People walking on the bridge can feel the rush of air from the cars below while taking a stroll while talking to their friends, families, and loved ones.

The highway is nearly empty, except for a few cars that sweep under the bridge. Only a couple of paper cups and trash are left on the side of the road. There is no traffic anytime during the day and night — it is much quieter compared to before. The mountains are translucent and visible due to the lack of cars, which emits a smaller carbon footprint. The smell of the bushes, grass and trees overpowers that of gasoline. The highway is empty and isolated; however, at the same time, it’s serene.

 

 On the night of December 6th, 2019, the city of Cupertino hosted its annual Santa tree lighting ceremony at the Quinlan Center. Neighbors and residents from Cupertino and nearby cities gather around the building to participate. The trees were lit up with luminous, glowing lights as people sat on benches, sipping their cups of hot chocolate — the steam from the drinks floated out of the cups and into the air.

Now, the Quinlan Center, once a place for gatherings and events, is now completely abandoned. Previously, MVHS hosted various events such as the Cure Cancer Cafe in the center; however, school closure and shelter in place orders mean that these events can no longer be held here. Outside, the grass starts growing taller as white, spontaneous daisies spurt up from the dirt.

 

Quarantined Cupertino

Visual

Rachel Jiang
Once filled with cars waiting to pick students up after class, the MVHS bus circle is now empty. There are no voices and no people except the occasional pedestrians who continue their daily walks in this small, unusually quiet — yet tranquil — neighborhood.

Visual

Rachel Jiang
The new quarantine procedures have prohibited children from playing in the park — not a single creak from the swing chains is heard; the slides seem like a tunnel of nothing except for the sound the wind makes as it blows through it.

Visual

Rachel Jiang
In Jollyman Park, swings are abandoned and slides are vacant; there is no sight of children or elderly.

 

 

 

Visual + Featured

In the staff parking lot of MVHS, there sits one shiny blue car in the middle of the wide teacher parking lot. There is no one in the car, and no one walking towards it. The classroom lights are off, and the gates to school are closed.

 

Visual

Rachel Jiang
A parking lot that was once used for car sales and farmers markets is now completely abandoned. The rain on the ground reflects the radiance of the setting sun. As the sun starts to set, the sky turns pink, yellow and blue. New sprouts of leaves emerge from tree branches. The trees rustle next to each other as the wind strokes its leaves and branches. It’s rare to hear these sounds when there used to be traffic.