The signs are taped up in the storefronts of downtown New Haven, down State Street, deep into they city's neighborhoods. All allude to a common, no longer surprising cause for their closure: the novel coronavirus.
They all have seen business change overnight. Some have closed indefinitely and others are testing takeout. All of them have a story to tell.
Sometimes it's "Gov. Ned Lamont" or an unspecific "government decision" that has locked the doors. Some are closed with short notes that start "in these uncertain times," and out of "an abundance of caution."
But what does it say about a business to have a carefully corporate document versus hasty Sharpie on scrap paper? Who had a gracefully orchestrated final week and who barely made it through a mad dash on the last day, apocalypse-style? That has decided to stay open?
And was that authorreallythe person with the best handwriting in the whole store?
One door missed its patrons. Another recommended customers just drive over to another location. One restaurant skipped the pretense all together and left a phone number and menu. Most promised they're not gone, just waiting for further notice.
The doors and their signs are all we have to represent the hearts and personalities of all these New Haven haunts, freshly deserted in this new ghost town. On the next of the many walks you must take to stay sane, stop to read a sign or two, and start writing the story behind it yourself.