The center of San Antonio has become a ghost town

Jane Gennarelli and I took Micky, Jane’s dog, for a walk downtown this morning, and it was even quieter than we had expected.

An empty street in downtown San Antonio
Streets were empty this morning in downtown San Antonio

First, to be completely accurate, Micky took us for a walk.

When Jane has the leash, it’s her walk. But if I have the leash, Micky knows that he’s in charge.

Today I had the leash, and Micky wanted to head downtown.

This was our first walk together for about a month. Jane had been visiting family in New Jersey when the coronavirus hit hard, and, on her return, she decided to self-quarantine for two weeks. As a result, I had seen her and Micky on only a couple of occasions, when I left packages outside Jane’s door, knocked, stood back ten feet and waved.

We started our walk at about 8:15 this morning.

A view west on Houston Street, Monday morning, April 6
Houston Street was empty of both cars and pedestrians.

For the past several years, Jane and I have commuted together to an office just north of downtown, and we’re used to seeing the streets jammed at this time of day.

Today, there were no jammed streets.

An empty downtown street in San Antonio with a single dog-walker crossing
Micky and I jaywalk without fear of traffic

There might be two or three cars waiting for a light to change at an intersection where we’d ordinarily see ten or twenty cars idling. We walked past several bus stops where we’d usually see a group of riders, but most were empty — three had a single person waiting for a bus. At one construction site, we saw five or six workers in hard hats, and we saw a solitary man exit the CPS office tower. Now and then a city pickup truck drove past us.

Otherwise, it felt pretty lonely.

We walked past closed retail shops and parking lots with two to five cars instead of the twenty to fifty they were designed to hold. One shop had boarded its windows, perhaps to deter theft.

It was hard to tell if hotels were even open.

A view down an empty Losoya Street
Losoya Street, empty during morning rush hour

An empty Navarro Street, looking south
Navarro Street, looking south toward Nueva

As we walked, Jane took photos here and there, stunned at the emptiness of the streets. And stunned that she could stand in the middle of the street to take a photo.

We’ve included a few with this post.