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Empty Boston: Scenes from a deserted city

A look around Boston would seem to indicate that people are taking "social distancing" seriously in the era of COVID-19.

North Station, usually one of the city's busiest spots, was empty in the middle of the day Thursday. Joseph Prezioso / AFP via Getty Images

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It’s a sight that’s almost, well, post-apocalyptic, like a scene out of I Am Legend or 28 Days Later (minus the zombies, fortunately): Boston’s streets, stores and offices have been eerily deserted as the city grapples with the coronavirus pandemic.

Gov. Charlie Baker declared a state of emergency on Tuesday, and on Friday issued an emergency order banning most gatherings of more than 250 people. Meanwhile, recommendations for unprecedented “social distancing” steps, including remote work wherever possible, have sent people scurrying indoors.

Below, images from Boston’s deserted streets and attractions over the last few days show how seriously residents are taking the novel virus. Meanwhile, if you are in a position to help your neighbors during this time, or are in need of help, check out Boston.com’s Boston Helps page to find out how.


Tables are vacant in the nearly-empty tourist area of Quincy Market Wednesday.

People walk through a nearly empty Quincy Market Wednesday.

Streets in the financial district were almost empty Thursday.

People were sparse at Copley Square and the Boston Public Library Thursday.

Two tourist from Spain had the Old North Church to themselves Thursday. They said they are fearful of going home and not sure of their travel options.

The North End’s Paul Revere Park was mostly empty Thursday – although as any dog owner will tell you, Rover’s got to get out no matter what.

A young girl rides her bike on empty city streets Thursday.

The Copley Place offices of Fuze were typical of Boston workspaces this week, as more and more employees are being encouraged to work from home.

Empty offices are visible in a downtown office building Friday.


A lone pedestrian comes down the steps by Boston City Hall Thursday.

Morning “rush hour” on Congress Street was far from typical Friday.

An almost empty departures area at terminal E, the international terminal, at Logan Airport Friday.


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