On any other Friday night, Last Call Sports Grill’s parking lot would be full with patrons lining the bar, racking pool tables and enjoying the bar’s social atmosphere until 2 a.m. But, two weeks after Jackson Mayor Chokwe Antar Lumumba issued an executive order to help prevent the spread of coronavirus, bars like Last Call Sports Grill, nightclubs and restaurants were mostly empty Friday night. The executive order prohibits gatherings of 10 or more people, closes bars and limits restaurant access. Social businesses in neighboring towns like Ridgeland were also disarranged with emptiness. These images were taken March 27 between 7:30 p.m. and 10:30 p.m., normally the time crowds start igniting Jackson’s nightlife. 

Eric J. Shelton was a 2018 corps member in Report for America, and joined the team as our first photojournalist. A native of Columbia, Miss., Eric earned his bachelor’s in photojournalism from the University of Southern Mississippi. He was a multimedia journalist for Abilene Reporter-News, chief photographer for the Hattiesburg American and photo editor for the Killeen Daily Herald before joining our team June 2018. He rejoined Mississippi Today as our health photojournalist in January 2022.