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COVID-19: The Port of San Diego's Response

Prioritizing the health and well-being of the public, our partners, and Port employees and their families, the Port of San Diego is doing our part to minimize the spread of and exposure to Coronavirus 2019 (COVID-19) while continuing to support our partners and provide public services. See below and check back here for updates and impacts related to the Port's maritime operations, public services, public safety, and more.

Covid-19 banner

San Diego Bay Recreation

In compliance with the State of California Regional Stay At Home Order, and with public health measures in place to continue to minimize the spread of and exposure to COVID-19, most public spaces around San Diego Bay are open.

Per the order, gatherings of any size are currently prohibited in the Southern California Region and everyone over two years of age is required to wear a face mask or face covering and maintain a physical distance of 6 feet or more from non-household members. It's also important to continue washing your hands often and don't touch your face.

The following is what is currently open/allowed and closed/not allowed on and around San Diego Bay:

Parks, beaches, playgrounds, and piers:

  • Parks and beaches along the bayfront in Chula Vista, Coronado, Imperial Beach, National City and San Diego are open and activities such as walking, running, sports, working out, swimming, sitting, lying down and picnicking are allowed for individuals and members of the same household. These activities can only be conducted so long as physical distancing can be maintained with non-household individuals and groups.
  • Playgrounds are open to facilitate physically distanced personal health and wellness through outdoor exercise.
  • Piers on San Diego Bay are open – Shelter Island Pier (San Diego), B Street and Broadway Piers (Embarcadero, San Diego), Embarcadero Marina Park South Pier (San Diego), Cesar Chavez Park Pier (Barrio Logan, San Diego), Pepper Park Pier (National City), Bayside Park Pier (aka J Street Pier, Chula Vista), Imperial Beach Pier, and the Ferry Landing Pier (Coronado).
  • Public restrooms – all public restrooms on the bayfront are open.

Parking:

Parking lots are open. Payment is required at pay stations and meters, and all other parking rules and regulations will be enforced. Time limits are posted in each area on the meters and pay stations and vary by location. The public is encouraged to review information on signs, meters and pay stations for additional information related to parking in all areas on the waterfront.

Recreational boating and fishing:

  • Recreational boating and fishing are allowed for individuals and members of the same household.
  • Jet skiing, kayaking and paddle boarding are allowed (kayakers and paddle boarders may launch from beaches).
  • All boat launches on San Diego Bay are open – Chula Vista, Glorietta Bay, National City, and Shelter Island (launch parking lots are open).
  • Fishing is allowed from Port piers, parks, beaches, and shoreline areas where not otherwise prohibited per Port signage.

Businesses on and around San Diego Bay:

For the latest on what types of businesses are allowed to open and what restrictions are in place for each business type, please go to covid19.ca.gov. If you’d like to know whether a business is open or not, please contact the business directly.

For information on how to report a potential violation of the public health orders, go to 211sandiego.org.

Maritime

The Port of San Diego is in regular communication and is collaborating with cargo and cruise lines, ship agents, California Office of Emergency Services, San Diego County Health & Human Services, the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), U.S. Coast Guard Office of Emergency Management, U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP), California Association of Port Authorities (CAPA), and the Cruise Line Industry Association (CILA).

The Coast Guard and CBP, with guidance from the CDC, are responsible for tracking cruise ship and cargo vessel arrival. They have decision-making authority regarding vessel clearance, quarantine and other requirements.

Cruise

Prioritizing public health, and with extra precautions in place to minimize community spread of and exposure to COVID-19, the Port of San Diego continues to work with its cruise line partners along with the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), U.S. Coast Guard, Customs & Border Protection (CBP), and San Diego County Health & Human Services (HHS) to resume sailings when it is safe to do so.

January 13, 2021 Update

As part of these efforts, several Holland America Line (HAL) ships are or will soon be in the San Diego area and may periodically dock at the B Street Cruise Terminal for fuel, food, supplies, and/or services. At this time, none of the vessels are carrying passengers or will be conducting any sailings. These visits are a crucial part of the line's operations to reestablish the ships in U.S. waters as a prerequisite to meet the CDC Framework for Conditional Sailing Order to resume cruising in the future. 

The following ships docked or will dock for a limited time at the B Street Cruise Terminal. The current schedule is as follows (schedule and vessels are subject to change based on operational needs and/or cruise line plans):

  • Holland America Koningsdam - December 23
  • Princess Cruises Emerald Princess - December 24
  • Holland America Westerdam - December 28
  • Holland America Zuiderdam - January 8
  • Holland America Koningsdam - January 21
  • Holland America Zuiderdam - February 5

Holland America’s Noordam and Nieuw Amsterdam are scheduled to arrive in the San Diego area in mid- to late January but are not currently scheduled to dock at the Port’s cruise terminals. As with all maritime operations, vessel schedules may change.

At this time, HAL ships are scheduled to remain in the San Diego area and may be visible off the coast, with some periodically positioning in the outer anchorage just outside of San Diego Bay off the coast of Coronado. Princess Cruises’ Emerald Princess docked at the B Street Terminal on December 24 and then departed for Los Angeles.

Crew members aboard the vessels will not be allowed off unless as part of crew changes with plans and procedures reviewed and approved by the CDC, Coast Guard, CBP, and County HHS. All crew members will be regularly tested for COVID-19 and health procedures will be followed in the event of an infection.

The COVID-19 pandemic has had major impacts on San Diego’s tourism industry, including 119 cancelled cruises since March. This represents a loss of roughly $200 million in regional economic activity, impacting local businesses and government. The Port’s cruise industry supports jobs including in retail, restaurant and lodging; transportation, trucking and warehousing; ship agents and stevedoring; and security and manpower services.

All future sailings are pending approval by the CDC, the Coast Guard, CBP, and County HHS.

Frequently Asked Questions

What safety plans and protocols are currently in place to keep crew members healthy aboard the ships and to treat them if they get sick?

The cruise lines are responsible for on board crew health and safety. Please contact the cruise line for more information.

How will terminal workers be kept safe?

For Port and terminal staff, including longshore workers, everyone will be required to wear PPE, including N95 masks and gloves, and to have their temperature checked prior to the start of their shift. Hand sanitizer is available and staff members are urged to wash their hands frequently, clean frequently touched surfaces, to maintain a physical distance of at least six feet from others as much as possible, and to avoid touching their faces. Per Port policy regarding communicable disease, Port employees are not allowed to board the vessels.

What safety plans and protocols are being put in place at the Port’s terminals to keep travelers, everyone who works at the terminals, and the public safe when cruises resume?

The Port of San Diego is discussing this with its cruise partners and other North American ports in anticipation of cruise eventually restarting. Guidelines will include extra cleaning and disinfection protocols, passenger and crew testing, face covering requirements, social distancing protocols, staggered and scheduled cruise passenger check-ins, plexiglass use to provide safety barriers between passengers and terminal workers, availability of hand sanitizer and handwashing, temperature checks and more.

What is the status of the cruise industry right now?

Cruises to and from U.S. ports are on hold pending the cruise lines complying with the CDC Framework for Conditional Sailing order issued on October 31, 2020 that includes requirements the cruise lines must follow in order to safely resume sailings.

During the initial phases, cruise ship operators must demonstrate adherence to testing, quarantine and isolation, and social distancing requirements to protect crew members while they build the laboratory capacity needed to test crew and future passengers. Subsequent phases will include simulated (mock) voyages with volunteers playing the role of passengers to test cruise ship operators’ ability to mitigate COVID-19 risk, certification for ships that meet specific requirements, and return to passenger voyages in a manner that mitigates COVID-19 risk among passengers, crew members, and communities

When do you predict cruises will start to sail out of San Diego again?

With COVID cases continuing to be high, it’s really impossible to predict what might happen as we really don’t know how things will develop in the days, weeks and months ahead. We know the cruise lines want to operate, and many cruise customers are eager to get back to cruising. Tourism is a vital part of San Diego’s economic recovery. We will do what we can to support our cruise partners and their customers when sailings resume.

What is the status of the two Celebrity ships we’ve seen, the Millennium and the Eclipse?

The Millennium remains in the outer anchorage. We have not received any requests to dock and don’t have any information about their future plans at this time. It was last in port on July 23. Since then, it’s been going up to LA for fuel and supplies. There are about 25-30 crew members on board to continue ship maintenance and operations.

The Eclipse docked at the B Street Terminal on December 1 for provisioning and operational needs prior to heading via Hawaii to a shipyard in Singapore for routine maintenance. Due to COVID-19 CDC health orders, the crew was not allowed shore leave, so all crew members stayed with the ship. Before that, the Eclipse was last in port July 22.

​​​​​​​Will the ships be shore powered?

All the ships will be utilizing shore power while in port to reduce environmental and air quality impacts, with the exception of the Koningsdam on its first visit. The Koningsdam has never been connected to shore power and will need several days to get connected to ensure it’s in working order. Because it will only be in port for one day on its first visit, and due to other various logistics issues, the Koningsdam will be commissioned and shore powered on its second visit in January, during which it will be at port for several days. It will be shore powered each visit after that.

Cargo

Cargo operations continue at the Port's Tenth Avenue and National City Marine Terminals. The U.S. Department of Homeland Security has identified all port and transportation operations as essential and marine terminal personnel, including Teamsters and Longshore Workers, have been identified as essential workers during the COVID-19 crisis. Their work supports and is a critical link in the national supply chain.

Tenant Resources for COVID-19

As a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, many Port tenants are experiencing a decline in businesses or have been required to temporarily close. In support of these businesses operating on and around San Diego Bay, the Port is closely monitoring the situation and is working with our tenants to help offset their financial impacts. Click here for the latest COVID-19 tenant resources. Click here for details and the latest COVID-19 Tenant Resources. 

Aerial view of the San Diego Bay North looking west
San Diego Bay Fisheye

Tenant Worker Rehire Policy

As part of the Port’s Rent Deferral Program for concession tenants, the Board of Port Commissioners directed Port staff to draft a Board policy requiring Port concession tenants accepting rent deferral to offer to rehire workers that have been laid off as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic when the tenants start increasing staff in the future. Click here to learn more.

Port Services & Facilities

The Port is in regular contact with San Diego County Health & Human Services, the California Department of Public Health, the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), our member cities - Chula Vista, Coronado, Imperial Beach, National City and San Diego - and other relevant agencies as this growing public health and economic crisis unfolds.

While the Port remains open for business, we have implemented a number of proactive measures aimed at reducing the spread of and minimizing exposure to COVID-19:

  • The Administration Building, located at 3165 Pacific Highway in San Diego, is closed to the public.
  • Members of the public with Port-related requests are encouraged to call or email the Customer Service Center at 619.686.6200 or customerservice@portofsandiego.org, or submit a request via the Port’s Service Portal.
  • In order to help protect the health and safety of the public, employees, and property, and in support of operations, services, and businesses operating on and around San Diego Bay, the Port of San Diego has proclaimed a local emergency due to Coronavirus 2019 (COVID-19). Read more here.
  • Port of San Diego Harbor Police dispatch and public safety services remain in operation 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
  • Maritime operations and public services, such as maintenance of parks, promenades, and other public spaces and facilities, continue.

The Port will continue to follow the lead of San Diego County Health & Human Services, the California Department of Public Health, the CDC, and the World Health Organization (WHO) in implementing protocols for public spaces, businesses, and in messaging to the community.

COVID-19 Health & Safety Resources

For updates and information about the current numbers of COVID-19 cases, the spread of the virus, severity, treatments, precautions, and other important public health information in multiple languages, please visit: