A journal of Bloomington during the pandemic, March 18, 2020

March 18, 2020 – Bloomington, Indiana USA: The Bloomington Indiana Courthouse square where parking it normally very difficult to acquire is deserted during the Covid-19/Coronavirus emergency, March 18, 2020 in Bloomington, Indiana. (Photo by Jeremy Hogan/The Bloomingtonian)

­­The streets of Bloomington were mostly empty yesterday, with most parking spots on the Monroe Courthouse Square empty. On Kirkwood, most businesses are closed. The Book Corner is open, but customers will have to call to make their order, the doors are closed.

A few respirator masks were still on the shelves at Bloomington Hardware, and before noon, the eastside Kroger still had bleach, and paper towels, but no Lysol, hand sanitizer or toilet paper. Shoppers in the store filled baskets, a man was had Mountain Dew, and other Pepsi products lining a shopping cart that he was buying for an older relative.

Workers in the Kroger put the merchandise still had on shelves, while scurrying shoppers dodged them. The meat section was already partially emptied, as workers cut meat. In a canned food aisle, many items were gone.

The CVS on North College has a Covid-19/Coronavirus note on the door listing the items they have, and don’t have. Lysol, and some other items were nearly depleted from a shelf with a sign reading 2 per person. The CVS website lists what items are available and unavailable, but shipments arrive on Tuesdays, according to an employee.

Jiffy Treat on the eastside was serving ice cream, and other items to customers on a walk in basis, but the dining area was blocked by tables and chairs. HIVE on the eastside had loafs of bread, toilet paper, coffee, and other grocery items for sale, and Switchyard was open for carry out customers. Cars lined up in the drive thru at the Taco Bell, and McDonald’s, and two men were carrying grocers in a shopping cart they pushed down a sidewalk on E. Third Street.

Around 5 p.m. three men showed up on the Courthouse Square for the weekly peace rally, which have been happening every Wednesday since 2003. They were carrying peace signs, and one wore a mask.

In a drive past the residence halls on the campus at IU, a group was seen standing in a doorway waiting for rain to stop, and a woman leaned her head against her hand after filling up the back of a truck. At Forest Quad, freshmen were moving out, with a first year of college cut short before the now canceled Little 500, and the spring bloom on campus. For others, IU announced that graduation ceremonies are canceled in May.

On Kirkwood the lights at the Buskirk-Chumley Theater were out, and the box office is closed, but on the marquee outside was a message for the community by the late Fred Rogers, known as Mr. Rogers, ““When I was a boy and I would see scary things in the news, my mother would say to me, “Look for the helpers. You will always find people who are helping.”

As evening descended onto the City of Bloomington, a gray fog began to appear, and distant buildings, and the landscape disappeared into the haze.

(Note: This is not a comprehensive list, but meant to give an idea of how the town appears. If you have a business that is still open, please contact The Bloomingtonian.)

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