'Close to doomsday': Here's what the East Bay looked like on day 1 of new shelter-in-place

WALNUT CREEK, Calif. (KGO) -- It's a different world out there this week in parts of the East Bay. Crowded stores over the weekend have given way to an uneasy quiet, reminiscent of the shelter-in-place last spring.

The sounds of silence in parts of downtown Walnut Creek were punctuated by fury.

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An anonymous man carried a sign and called out to people passing by, saying "It's as close to doomsday as we are going to get. Look at these businesses. It's sad."

A woman walking by called back to him, "There are so many businesses here hanging on by a thread."

Others yelled out the need for caution and mask-wearing.

Lining the streets were the restaurant stalls that were set up during a more hopeful time. They are empty now, with the owners saying they've been told by the city to take down their tents and lighting and heaters.

Others called it eerie - Even when you get to the usually bustling Broadway Plaza shopping district.

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Many East Bay businesses are stunned to hear the new coronavirus shutdown is happening so quickly.



Shopper Em Marasco said about her trip to Nordstrom, "There was really no one in the store. A lot of people, sales reps coming up and asking if I needed help. I just zoomed through."

Across the street at a grocery store, there was no line to get in despite diminished capacity inside essential businesses.

"I think people were afraid to come out because of the pandemic, " was the explanation offered by shopper Elena Gaoiran.

No lines at banks or at local pharmacies, either.

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The owner of a hair salon in Pleasanton is hoping to stage a protest and convince the governor to roll back the closure.

Christine Palmer of Flaunt Hair Designs said, "We're all scared. It's extremely unfair. We feel like we are all being targeted."

A Walnut Creek salon owner closed up shop, still staying hopeful the new year will be better.

Melissa Malugani, owner of the Painted Mane Co. said, "My clients have become really resilient about pivoting and rescheduling over and over again. It's really unfortunate I can't bring them the gift of good hair for Christmas but we will get through this together."

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