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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.

    Parks, Beaches, and Boat Launches Are Closed

    Port of San Diego parks, which includes beaches, parking lots, piers, and boat launches, around San Diego Bay are closed. The decision is effective as of March 24, is consistent with the County of San Diego’s amended public health order, and follows similar moves by the State of California and local city governments to further discourage non-essential gatherings of any size. Read more here.

    Additionally, per an amendment to the County’s amended public health order on April 3, boating for recreational purposes, watersports, or swimming are prohibited on or in public waterways and at beaches. This order is effective as of 12 a.m., Saturday, April 4, 2020 until further notice. Therefore, San Diego Bay is closed to recreation – including boating, kayaking, paddle boarding, and recreational fishing – until further notice.

    A message from Randa Coniglio, President & CEO, Port of San Diego on Coronavirus (COVID-19).

    Aerial view of the San Diego Bay North looking west

    Tenant Resources for COVID-19

    In support of businesses operating on and around San Diego Bay, the Port is closely monitoring various economic stimulus programs now approved by federal, state and regional governments that are designed to address some of the specific challenges businesses are facing due to COVID-19. For the convenience of our tenant partners, we’ve compiled these resources into one place. Click here for details and the latest COVID-19 Tenant Resources list. 

    Frequently Asked Questions

    If I have a boat on the water, (at a mooring, marina, etc.) can I go out on it, fish, sail, etc? / Is kayaking/stand up paddle boarding on San Diego Bay permitted?

    Per the County’s amended public health order, boating for recreational purposes, watersports, or swimming are prohibited on or in public waterways and at beaches. This order is effective as of 12 a.m., Saturday, April 4, 2020 until further notice. Therefore, San Diego Bay is closed to recreation – including boating, kayaking, paddle boarding, and recreational fishing – until further notice.

    Remember, the State and San Diego County public health directives during the COVID-19 crisis are for all of us to stay at home. The only exceptions are essential needs. These orders allow public agencies, including law enforcement, to focus resources on protecting public health and safety during this global health and economic crisis.

    We understand this isn’t welcome news – we hope it will be for a short duration. In fact, the more we all follow the stay-at-home orders, the sooner we can get back to “normal.” These are challenging times for us all, and the Port appreciates the public’s patience and understanding as we all work together to keep each other healthy and well and to flatten the curve.

    Note: Those who continue to participate in recreation on San Diego Bay should be prepared to be stopped and questioned by Port of San Diego Harbor Police. Law enforcement, including Harbor Police, is prepared to issue citations for violations of the State and County stay-at-home orders. Those citations carry a maximum fine of up to $1,000 and up to 6 months in jail.

    Posted 4/3/2020

    What if I want to go out to the ocean? Will I be allowed to leave? Will I be allowed to come back? What about my right of passage?

    At this time, the channel is not closed, but be prepared to be stopped and questioned by Harbor Police. Law enforcement, including Harbor Police, is prepared to issue citations for violations of the State and County stay-at-home orders. Those citations carry a maximum fine of up to $1,000 and up to 6 months in jail.

    Per the State’s stay-at-home order, and consistent with the County of San Diego’s amended public health order, only essential activities are allowed. Water recreation is not considered an essential activity.

    Note: This does not apply to those conducting essential commercial activity or to those seeking service at a designated critical infrastructure boat yard.

    Posted on 4/3/2020

    Any idea or plan for when the parks, beaches, launch ramps and other facilities will reopen?

    This situation is fluid and the Port will continue to follow the lead of local, state and federal health authorities at the San Diego County Health & Human Services, the California Department of Public Health, and the CDC, in implementing protocols for public spaces. We appreciate everyone’s patience and will provide updates as we have them at portofsandiego.org/covid19

    Posted 3/26/2020

    What if I live on my boat?

    Harbor Police will address and consider liveaboards on a case-by-case basis, taking into consideration individual circumstances.

    Posted 4/3/2020

    Where can I fish if I can't fish from the piers and the boat launches are closed?/Is fishing from shore permitted?/ Kayak fishing?/ Can I be out on the bay?

    We understand this temporary situation will adversely impact local fishing opportunities and are hopeful that it will be for a short duration. Per the County’s amended public health order, boating for recreational purposes, watersports, or swimming are prohibited on or in public waterways and at beaches. Therefore, recreational fishing – whether along the shoreline or on the water – is not permitted at this time.

    We understand this isn’t welcome news, but we hope it will be for a short duration. In fact, the more we all follow the stay-at-home orders, the sooner we can get back to “normal.” These are challenging times for us all, and the Port appreciates the public’s patience and understanding as we all work together to keep each other healthy and well and to flatten the curve.

    Posted 4/3/2020

    Are the transient boat docks/anchorages open?

    All the transient docks are still open as are the anchorages. They are subject to all the permitting requirements and compliance with all the laws and rules.

    Posted 3/26/2020

    I’m a commercial fisherman. Can I use the launches?

    Licensed/registered vessels engaged in commercial fishing, with valid permits, are authorized to use the Shelter Island Boat Launch.

    Posted 4/3/20

    Is parking allowed in metered and non-metered spots that are not in a lot adjacent to a park? (Along the North Embarcadero and up to the “crescent area” north of the Grape Street piers, Shelter Island, America’s Cup Harbor, etc.) 

    Yes, parking is allowed in metered and non-metered spaces that are not in a lot adjacent to a park (if there are signs or barricades, the parking lot is closed). At this time, the Port is not enforcing payment in open metered parking spaces, and is not enforcing 3-hour or 4-hour time limits. All other parking rules and regulations are being enforced, including but not limited to: 72-hour time limits, ADA parking (blue curbs/markings), fire lanes (red curbs/markings), and commercial yellow zones (yellow curbs/markings).

    Posted 3/26/2020

    Where can I park to go to the Tuna Harbor Dockside Market on Saturdays?

    The metered parking lot directly adjacent (598 Harbor Lane/Tuna Wharf Way) to the entry point for the Dockside Market (approximately 40 metered, plus ADA spaces) will continue to be open for public parking. At this time, the Port is not enforcing payment in open metered parking spaces, and is not enforcing 3-hour or 4-hour time limits. All other parking rules and regulations are being enforced, including but not limited to: 72-hour time limits, ADA parking (blue curbs/markings), fire lanes (red curbs/markings), and commercial passenger loading zones (white curbs/markings).

    Posted 3/26/2020

    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:

    • Port parks, beaches, parking lots, piers, and boat launches are closed as of March 24. Read more here.
    • 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.

      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. 

      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.

      Cruise - Prioritizing public health, and with extra precautions in place to minimize community spread of and exposure to Coronavirus 2019 (COVID-19), the Port of San Diego is working with its cruise line partners to conclude sailings that were underway when the cruise lines suspended operations in mid-March.

      No ship has or will be allowed in San Diego Bay without first being cleared by medical authorities, and no new sailings have begun or will begin out of San Diego Bay until at least mid-April.

      Additionally, the public may see cruise ships lay berthing (to dock without passengers) or anchoring in and around San Diego Bay until at least mid-April. Per the cruise lines, crew members still under contract must remain on the ships. Read more here

      To help minimize the spread of and exposure to Coronavirus 2019 (COVID-19), the following precautions are in place:

      • Prior to arrival, all disembarking passengers and crew completed a CDC COVID-19 survey;
      • During disembarkation, vessel staff is performing temperature monitoring to identify symptomatic passengers and crew;
      • In coordination with San Diego County Health & Human Services and the cruise line, any passenger or crew member who is symptomatic will be isolated and then transported off the vessel for further evaluation and to be tested for COVID-19. No symptomatic passenger or crew member will be allowed to disembark without approval by the County Health Officer;
      • The Port is thoroughly cleaning and disinfecting the B Street cruise terminal before and after each ship.
      • The Port has installed extra handwashing stations in and around the terminal for passenger and public use and has made extra hand sanitizer available.
      • Ship agents and cruise lines are required to notify the Coast Guard immediately if anyone aboard a vessel is exhibiting symptoms of communicable diseases including COVID-19.
      • All inbound vessels must notify the Coast Guard 14 days ahead of their scheduled arrival in San Diego, even if no one on board is exhibiting symptoms.

      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:

      The President’s Coronavirus Guidelines for America: 15 Days to Slow the Spread

      1. Listen to and follow the directions of your state and local authorities.
      2. If you feel sick, stay home. Do not go to work. Contact your medical provider.
      3. If your children are sick, keep them at home. Do not send them to school. Contact your medical provider.
      4. If someone in your household has tested positive for the coronavirus, keep the entire household at home. Do not go to work. Do not go to school. Contact your medical provider.
      5. If you are an older person, stay home and away from other people.
      6. If you are a person with a serious underlying health condition that can put you at increased risk (for example, a condition that impairs your lung or heart function or weakens your immune system), stay home and away from other people.
      7. Even if you are young, or otherwise healthy, you are at risk and your activities can increase the risk for others. It is critical that you do your part to stop the spread of the coronavirus:
        1. Work or engage in schooling from home whenever possible.
        2. If you work in a critical infrastructure industry, as defined by the Department of Homeland Security, such as healthcare services and pharmaceutical and food supply, you have a special responsibility to maintain your normal work schedule. You and your employers should follow CDC guidance to protect your health at work.
        3. Avoid social gatherings in groups of more than 9 people.
        4. Avoid eating or drinking in bars, restaurants, and food courts – use drive-thru, pickup, or delivery options.
        5. Avoid discretionary travel, shopping trips, and social visits.
        6. Do not visit nursing homes or retirement or long-term care facilities unless to provide critical assistance.
      8. Practice good hygiene:
        1. Wash your hands, especially after touching any frequently used item or surface.
        2. Avoid touching your face.
        3. Sneeze or cough into a tissue, or the inside of your elbow.
        4. Disinfect frequently used items and surfaces as much as possible.

      * School operations can accelerate the spread of the coronavirus.  Governors of states with evidence of community transmission should close schools in affected and surrounding areas.  Governors should close schools in communities that are near areas of community transmission, even if those areas are in neighboring states. In addition, state and local officials should close schools where coronavirus has been identified in the population associated with the school. States and localities that close schools need to address childcare needs of critical responders, as well as the nutritional needs of children.

      ** Older people are particularly at risk from the coronavirus. All states should follow Federal guidance and halt social visits to nursing homes and retirement and long-term care facilities.

      *** In states with evidence of community transmission, bars, restaurants, food courts, gyms, and other indoor and outdoor venues where groups of people congregate should be closed.