Timeline: 15 Months of Restrictions Behind Us as California Pivots to Full Reopening

This page houses monthly COVID-19 breakdowns from March 2020 to June 2021.

Since early 2020, warnings and restrictions were put in place to protect San Diegans from COVID-19. And after 15 months, California leaders are finally ready to lift most of those orders and fully reopen the state.

That means saying goodbye to face masks and social distancing and hello to businesses at full capacity – with some catches, of course. (For a breakdown of what a reopened California means for you, click here.)

But, how did we get to this point?

Well, to find out, let’s look back at the major restrictions San Diego County faced during the height of the pandemic – from a tiered reopening system to an on-again, off-again relationship with bars to a time where sitting on the beach was banned.

Notable COVID-19 Restrictions in San Diego County

  • March 11, 2020: The World Health Organization declares the COVID-19 outbreak a pandemic.
  • March 13, 2020: San Diego County issues its initial public health order for COVID-19, which later undergoes many changes, updates, and amendments (later including shutting down bars, limiting gatherings to 10 people, and closing open spaces like beaches, parks and boardwalks).
  • March 19, 2020: Gov. Gavin Newsom announces a statewide Stay-at-Home order, and San Diegans can only for essential jobs, errands and some exercise.
  • April 27, 2020: Some San Diego-area beaches and open spaces reopen for limited use.
  • June 12, 2020: San Diego County allows certain gyms, bars, museums, hotels and other businesses to reopen.
  • July 1, 2020: San Diego County shuts down bars, wineries and breweries that don’t serve food again. All further reopenings in the region are paused until August 1, 2020.
  • August 28, 2020: Gov. Gavin Newsom announces new color-coded, tiered reopening system for the state.
  • August 31, 2020: The state’s tiered system takes effect, and San Diego County enters the Red Tier – the third-most restrictive tier (of four).
  • November 11, 2020: San Diego County enters the Purple Tier.
  • December 3, 2020: Gov. Gavin Newsom announces plans for new, regional Stay-at-Home orders.
  • December 6, 2020: The recent Stay-at-Home orders go into effect in San Diego at 11:59 p.m.
  • January 25, 2021: Gov. Gavin Newsom lifts the regional Stay-at-Home orders and focus is shifted back to the tiered system, where San Diego remained in the Purple Tier.
  • March 17, 2021: San Diego enters the Red Tier.
  • April 7, 2021: San Diego enters the Orange Tier.
  • June 9, 2021: San Diego enters the Yellow Tier.
  • June 15, 2021: The tiered system ends, as California leaders full reopen the state.

For more details on the specific requirements and restrictions of the old tiers, click here.

Of course, as more and more restrictions fade, San Diegans should note that the pandemic is not over just yet -- and variants and other data are continuously being researched and understood.

Continue to follow local health guidelines, which can be found here.

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