A photo essay by Then & Now Art® for Wausau Pilot and Review

On a typical Saturday morning in Wausau downtown restaurants overflow with customers, with drivers circling the block to find the closest possible spot. Traffic on Scott Street and Stewart Avenue is brisk. Cars line the streets and parking lots. At The Mint Cafe, 422 N. Third St., a line forms with hungry breakfast patrons, waiting for the next available table.

In the span of a few short days, the once vibrant spaces and places of Wausau have become empty and quiet.

Busy streets, parking lots, restaurants, bars and store shelves have emptied in Wausau as COVID-19 concerns forced residents to work from home, while schools and a multitude of businesses have closed. These photos capture the eerie emptiness of our city in the days of the COVID-19 emergency.

Saint Paddy’s Day decorations inside a deserted Malarkey’s in downtown Wausau on Saturday, March 21, 2020
Parking lot at Kohl’s in Rib Mountain on March 21, 2020
Wausau’s upcoming events sign, empty of listings on Saturday, March 21, 2020
Empty sidewalk on Third Street in downtown Wausau over the lunch hour on Saturday, March 21, 2020
A man peeks through the bananas at County Market in Wausau on March 21, 2020
A lone Wausau Police officer patrols the parking lot of the Eye Clinic of Wisconsin in downtown Wausau on March 21, 2020
Wausau’s Scott Street Bridge is empty, with a lone visitor at the gazebo on March 21, 2020
Manufacturing facilities remain open as of March 21, 2020, deemed essential operations by state and federal authorities.
A state-mandated restaurant closure prompted some businesses, including La Prima Deli in downtown Wausau, to shift to curbside pickup. March 21, 2020
Scott Street in downtown Wausau in the afternoon of Saturday, March 21, 2020.
The Mint Cafe in downtown Wausau on March 21, 2020
A single van in a downtown Wausau parking lot on March 21, 2020
A view of Rib Mountain from across the river in Wausau on March 21, 2020
Signs at Trig’s in Wausau, which has been packed with customers stocking up on food and other items, reminds customers to practice social distancing. March 21, 2020
High demand for bread led to purchasing limits and empty shelves at County Market in Wausau. March 21, 2020
TJ Maxx temporarily closed its doors for two weeks beginning March 19, leaving parking lots bare on what would have otherwise been a busy Saturday. Photo captured on March 21, 2020
Third Street in Wausau looking north on Saturday, March 21, 2020
A run on toilet paper, facial tissue and other products forced grocery stores to limit the number of purchases by each customer. March 21, 2020
The emergency forced a shutdown of self-service deli and salad bars throughout Wausau. March 21, 2020
Many downtown businesses are open but Scott Street in Wausau remained largely deserted on a Saturday afternoon. March 21, 2020
Bakery shelves at La Prima Deli on Saturday, March 21, 2020
Interior of The Mint Cafe, a downtown restaurant typically filled to capacity around lunchtime on Saturday, March 21, 2020
Interior of Townie’s Bar and Grill around lunchtime on Saturday, March 21, 2020
Intersection of Scott and Third Streets on Saturday, March 21, 2020
The 400 Block around noon on Saturday, March 21, 2020
Shoppers in downtown Wausau on Saturday, March 21, 2020
City Square Office Center on Saturday, March 21, 2020
A handful of cars in downtown Wausau just after noon on Saturday, March 21, 2020
A sign for visitors in a deserted downtown Wausau on Saturday, March 21, 2020
Some downtown Wausau stores remain open, but shoppers are scarce. March 21, 2020
Two people walking on Scott Street in downtown Wausau on the afternoon of March 21, 2020
The Ascension Medical Group building, pictured from 17th Avenue in Wausau. March 21, 2020
No in-store dining is allowed at restaurants, delis and grocery stores amid the COVID-19 outbreak. March 21, 2020
A man scans the shelves for supplies at County Market in Wausau. March 21, 2020
Stewart Avenue, facing west, in the afternoon of March 21, 2020
A single car atop a downtown Wausau parking ramp on March 21, 2020
The Dudley Tower and parking lot in downtown Wausau on March 21, 2020
The sidewalk in the 400 block of Third Street around noon on Saturday, March 21, 2020
Two men chat in the parking lot of Trig’s in Wausau. March 21, 2020
Shelves emptied of toilet paper at County Market in Wausau. March 21, 2020
Sign in the window of Malarkey’s in downtown Wausau: This too shall pass. March 21, 2020

All photos are protected by copyright and courtesy Then & Now Art® for Wausau Pilot and Review. For contact information, visit this page.