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The Mood On Waltham's Moody Street As Stores Shut To Stall Virus Spread03:02
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Gov. Charlie Baker ordered all non-essential stores and businesses in Massachusetts to close Tuesday at noon to help reduce the spread of coronavirus. The order will be in effect until April 7.

WBUR reporter Bruce Gellerman and photojournalist Robin Lubbock went to Moody Street in Waltham to capture the mood of store owners in the heart of the city's commercial district.

USPS letter carrier Chris Kirk walks down Moody Street in Waltham delivering mail. (Robin Lubbock/WBUR)
USPS letter carrier Chris Kirk walks down Moody Street in Waltham delivering mail. (Robin Lubbock/WBUR)

Mail carrier Chris Kirk wears blue latex globes on his route along Moody Street. He recites the mail's famous motto — through rain and snow and sleet and hail — laughing, "We're coming, baby, we're coming."

Kirk says there is less mail than usual but delivering packages for Amazon is way up. "Nobody goes out shopping," he said.

A sign on the closed thrift store on Moody Street says it will be open "as soon as possible." (Robin Lubbock/WBUR)
A sign on the closed thrift store on Moody Street says it will be open "as soon as possible." (Robin Lubbock/WBUR)
Game Underground on Moody Street is closed "for social distancing." (Robin Lubbock/WBUR)
Game Underground on Moody Street is closed "for social distancing." (Robin Lubbock/WBUR)

In the windows and on doors of businesses along Moody Street hang signs of the times. One at Gourmet Pottery reads, "We're just closed for a time to be safe. Please be well. Can't wait to re-open."

Miriam Benitez, owner of Lizzy's ice cream, holds the door open as she talks to a visitor. (Robin Lubbock/WBUR)
Miriam Benitez, owner of Lizzy's ice cream, holds the door open as she talks to a visitor. (Robin Lubbock/WBUR)

Lizzy's Ice Cream owner Miriam Benitez placed a sign on her store's window saying it would be closed until April 7. She's trying to be optimistic. She says she hopes her shop will be open in July to celebrate its 25th anniversary.

A T-shirt in the window of the iD art GraphicsShop on Moody Street says "Keep Calm And Keep Your Distance." (Robin Lubbock/WBUR)
A T-shirt in the window of the iD art GraphicsShop on Moody Street says "Keep Calm And Keep Your Distance." (Robin Lubbock/WBUR)
Harsimrat "Harry" Singh, owner of the J&M Dollar Store on Moody Street, chats with the Rev. Rebecca Sheble-Hall as she makes a purchase. (Robin Lubbock/WBUR)
Harsimrat "Harry" Singh, owner of the J&M Dollar Store on Moody Street, chats with the Rev. Rebecca Sheble-Hall as she makes a purchase. (Robin Lubbock/WBUR)

Most of the signs along Moody Street are in Spanish and English. Some are in Urdu. At J&M Dollar Discount, owner Harismrat Singh (everyone calls him Harry) is closing his store an hour earlier. Otherwise, it's business as usual selling a wide variety of household items and foods.

"People don't have cars," in this neighborhood, he says. "They can't go to BJ's, Target or Costco, so they need to walk to get their stuff."

Singh says the mood on Moody Street in Waltham is upbeat.

"It's not sad or anything," he says. "Everyone knows it'll pass eventually."

Moody Street, Waltham, Mass. (Robin Lubbock/WBUR)
Moody Street, Waltham, Mass. (Robin Lubbock/WBUR)

This segment aired on March 24, 2020.

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Bruce Gellerman Twitter Senior Reporter
Bruce Gellerman is an award-winning journalist and senior correspondent, frequently covering science, business, technology and the environment.

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Robin Lubbock Twitter Visual Media
Robin Lubbock produces visual and social media for WBUR.

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