Timeline: A look back at the pandemic then vs. now


SAN FRANCISCO, Calif. (KRON) – It’s been a long 15 months since lockdowns were first put in place across the Bay Area and today, as the state moves into a new phase of pandemic living, KRON4 is taking a look back at all we’ve endured since March of 2020.

No masks for vaccinated people, no more physical distancing and no more capacity limits — The removal of nearly all pandemic-related restrictions in California has been a long time coming.

March 16, 2020, was the day six Bay Area counties took drastic measures to try and contain the coronavirus.

Here at KRON4, social distancing had begun. As we separated our anchors on set and moved our meteorologists and reporters to report from home, bars and gyms, movie theaters and restaurant doors were shuttered, as millions across the country were ordered to shelter in place.

Originally that order was supposed to be lifted on April 7th.

But that date came and went and we stayed put.

Our schools remained closed and Governor Newsom ordered a statewide ban on evictions.

Fast forward to June 15, 2020 — Three months after shelter in place was ordered and the state was operating in numerical phases for reopening.

Counties in Phase 2 allowed restaurants to open up outdoor dining and retail stores and malls began welcoming back shoppers with masks and safety guidelines in place, but the optimism was short-lived. 

The July 4th holiday saw a record number of travelers and people began gathering indoors without masks.

Wait times to receive your COVID test results were in many cases a week, or longer. 

By mid-July, a spike in cases forced retail stores in San Francisco to close back down as the county was added to the state’s watchlist due to an uptick in hospitalizations.

By mid-August, a majority of counties across the state remained on the states watchlist.

As students started remote learning, hair salons and barbershops across the Bay Area did reopen for outdoor services.

By the end of the month, the state moved to a new color coded framework for reopening.

Counties had to stay in each tier for at least three weeks before they were allowed to advance.

By late October, the Bay Area had become familiar with outdoor dining parklets and counties like San Mateo updated isolation guidelines for people who were COVID positive.

Just as counties were gearing up to reopen further, the U.S. daily average of positive cases rose to 74,000 and conservative counties like San Francisco put a pause on reopening plans.

By Thanksgiving, health officials worried holiday travel would trigger a new surge of cases and that’s exactly what happened.

By December 7th, a new statewide stay at home order was issued.

As places like Santa Clara, San Francisco, Marin and Alameda counties were beginning to run out of ICU beds, restaurant operations were shuttered once again, as a new variant from the UK began to present itself here in America.

But a light at the end of the tunnel would soon emerge.

By December 11th, the FDA issued its first emergency use authorization for a vaccine to combat COVID-19 and vials filled with Pfizer’s mRNA vaccine were being shipped across the country.

Moderna’s emergency use authorization was granted just a week later.

Healthcare workers and our most vulnerable population would be the first in line to receive their vaccines.

By mid January, drive thru vaccination clinics were popping up all over the Bay Area.

By February 1st, then brand new President Joe Biden and the CDC ordered mask-wearing to be mandatory on all public transportation.

The order came at a time when vaccine supply shortages began gripping the Golden State.

By March, Johnson and Johnson vaccine doses were on the way.

Restaurants were reopening for in-person dining and the governor was ordering schools to reopen as well.

On the year anniversary of the Bay Area shelter in place order, Mayor London Breed received her first COVID-19 vaccine dose.

As the month marched on, vaccine eligibility continued to expand — Eventually allowing for Bay Area residents 16 and up to receive their doses.

Places like Fairyland in Oakland started welcoming back visitors and as positivity rates dropped dramatically, counties began relaxing mask mandates for outdoor activities

vaccine eligibility was expanded to more school-aged kids and the number of people protected against COVID-19 continued to rise.

By May, Governor Newsom set the tone announcing vaccinated Californians could ditch their masks by June 15th.

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