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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

The Port of San Diego Administration Building at 3165 Pacific Highway in San Diego has reopened to the public and tenants (on Tuesday, June 15). The building will be open during business hours from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Thursday and every other Friday (administrative offices work on an alternate workweek schedule and are closed every other Friday per our Alternate Closed Fridays schedule).

Whenever possible, the public and tenants are encouraged to use the Port’s online Service Portal for services, including public records, parks/event permits, reporting trash, graffiti, stormwater pollution and more. Those without computer and/or internet access may request to use a computer that will be available in the lobby of the Administration Building.

The Port continues to do our part to minimize the spread of and exposure to COVID-19. At this time and until further notice, all persons entering any Port facility are required to wear a face covering. Additionally, the Port has implemented other safety measures, including but not limited to: 

  • Daily disinfection service for high touch areas in addition to regular cleaning and janitorial service
  • Plexiglas installed in public areas
  • Ventilation system filter enhancement

At this time, Board of Port Commissioners meetings continue to be conducted virtually. Meeting schedules and agendas are available here. Details on how to view meetings and submit public comment are available by clicking on the meeting’s agenda.

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 is working with the cruise lines along with various other local, state and federal agencies to resume sailings when it is safe to do so.

The Port of San Diego is supporting cruise ships as needed for supply needs, crew needs, ship maintenance and more. Beginning May 19, the Port began assisting with crew vaccinations in coordination with Sharp HealthCare, Holland America Line and Princess Cruises – the first cruise ships in California to be vaccinated.

At times, cruise ships may be visible off the coast of San Diego 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 are conducting any sailings. When not in port, some may periodically position in the outer anchorage just outside of San Diego Bay off the coast of Coronado. As with all maritime operations, vessel schedules may change.

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 164 cancelled cruises since March 2020. This represents a loss of roughly $280 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.

The Port is optimistic that cruising will resume out of San Diego in the fall for our 21-22 season. The Port’s cruise season typically runs from September through May/early June.

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

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the status of the cruise industry right now?

The cruise lines are focused primarily on their summer seasons in the Alaska and Florida markets.

As we look ahead to the start of our fall-spring season, the lines are doing some early preparations such as vaccinating their crew members and working with the CDC and local and state public health agencies to resume cruising out of Southern California.

On May 5, 2021, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) released new guidance for cruise ships to prepare and resume operations as soon as July. To resume cruising and not conduct a test cruise before approval by the CDC to operate, at least 98% of the crew and 95% of the passengers will need to be fully vaccinated against COVID-19, according to the new requirements. The cruise lines are working to meet CDC guidelines for resumption of service.

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.

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.

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: