Signs of the times: Oakland businesses share updates, messages of solidarity 

Streets and sidewalks have emptied out as Oakland mostly stays home, but local florists, mechanics and restaurants still have things to say.

Many mechanics are open for business, like this one on International Boulevard, but customers are advised to practice social distancing. Photo: CB Smith-Dahl

With streets and sidewalks across Oakland emptied out, a flurry of new signs has appeared on storefronts across the city to help businesses keep their customers updated, or just to share a few words of hope and solidarity. Whether the message is handwritten or computer-generated, logistical or philosophical, each represents a facet of the new normal in Oakland.

An East Oakland laundromat lets customers know that they can still wash and dry on the premises, but must fold their own clothes at home. A Fruitvale florist gives a website and telephone number for placing orders, while a North Oakland restaurant name-checks every delivery app you can imagine. A mechanic on International Boulevard who’s still open for business asks customers to “Keep your distance, 6 feet please.”

Other signs send supportive messages, like the Rockridge restaurant that reminds passersby that “Mutual support is how we will all get through this.” Several restaurants have also started posting the COVID-$19 challenge to support those who rely on tips.

In true Oakland tradition, some apartment dwellers and homeowners have gotten in on the action with messages of their own, even if just a reminder to “Take care of each other.” 


Rockridge cafe Filippo’s urges you to take the COVID-$19 challenge to support waitstaff with tips. Photo: CB Smith-Dahl
J’s Lovely Nails on Foothill Boulevard says Nails, Eyelashes, and Eyebrows will have to wait until after “Virus Corona.” Photo: CB Smith-Dahl
Buffet Fortuna, a Chinatown favorite, was suffering losses even before the state order to stay home. Photo: CB Smith-Dahl
You can still wash and dry at High Street’s Laundry Express, but please fold in the safety of your own home. Photo: CB Smith-Dahl
Beauty Salon D’Carlo in Fruitvale is closed due to COVID-19. Photo: CB Smith-Dahl
Love Stop Flowers and Gifts is taking orders by phone and online. Photo: CB Smith-Dahl
Chef and founder Sara Kernon holds up new hours for Miss Ollie’s in Old Oakland. Photo: CB Smith-Dahl
Rockridge’s Holy Basil Pho eatery has all the signs! Photo: CB Smith-Dahl
Red Bay Coffee in Fruitvale announced drive-up service after this photo was taken. Photo: CB Smith-Dahl
Atomic Garden on College Avenue reminds us that everything has a season. Photo: CB Smith-Dahl
Lawn signs, a long-standing Bay Area tradition, adapt to coronavirus, like this one in the Allendale neighborhood. Photo: CB Smith-Dahl