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Compiled by Zach Cavanagh and Shawn Raymundo


Jan. 21 – First reported COVID-19 case in United States

Jan. 26 – First reported COVID-19 cases in California

Jan. 30 – World Health Organization declares global health emergency


Feb. 26 – Orange County issues public health emergency due to coronavirus concerns

Feb. 29 – First reported coronavirus death in United States

The city of San Clemente introduces strict social distancing protocols for the March 17 city council meeting, limiting the number of seats available to the public. Photo: Shawn Raymundo


March 4 – Orange County reports two positive cases of COVID-19

March 4 – First coronavirus-related death reported in California

March 11 – State advises postponing or canceling all events and gatherings through end of March

March 11 – World Health Organization declares COVID-19 a pandemic

March 13 – Capistrano Unified School District (CUSD) schools close through April 3

March 15 – State issues social distancing guidelines and urges bars to close and restaurants to reduce operations

March 17 – Orange County bans gatherings, orders closure of in-person dining and bars and encourages working from home

March 17 – San Clemente City Council passes a resolution declaring a local emergency

March 19 – California issues stay-at-home order, closing all but essential services

H.H. Cottons in Downtown San Clemente puts out its “closed” sign following the county’s directive Tuesday, March 17, to close all bars. Photo: Shawn Raymundo

March 19 – California surpasses 1,000 coronavirus cases

March 24 – San Clemente closes beach parking and pier

March 24 – CUSD begins distance learning

March 24 – Orange County reports first death related to COVID-19

March 25 – Orange County closes county-operated beach parking

March 25 – CUSD extends closure through May 1

March 27 – Orange County begins reporting city-by-city coronavirus cases

March 27 – U.S. House of Representatives passes $2.2 trillion coronavirus relief package

March 28 – United States surpasses 100,000 coronavirus cases

Signage posted along the beach near the San Clemente Pier urge beachgoers to remain 6 feet apart as part of the continuous efforts to limit the spread of coronavirus. Photo: Shawn Raymundo


April 2 – CUSD continues distance learning indefinitely

April 3 – Orange County surpasses 1,000 COVID-19 cases

April 8 – San Clemente closes beaches

April 9 – United States surpasses 20,000 coronavirus-related deaths

April 13 – MemorialCare launches mobile testing center for coronavirus

April 14 – State announces plan to reopen California economy

April 17 – California records 1,000th coronavirus-related death

Hundreds of protesters gather in Downtown San Clemente on Sunday, April 21, to demonstrate against the state’s stay-at-home orders. Photo: Shawn Raymundo

April 19 – Hundreds gather in San Clemente to protest stay-at-home orders

April 23 – United States tops 50,000 coronavirus-related deaths

April 24 – Food and retail workers required to wear masks in Orange County

April 25 – San Clemente reopens beaches for active recreation

April 28 – United States tops 1 million coronavirus cases

San Clemente residents visit the beach near the municipal pier on Sunday afternoon, April 26. San Clemente’s beaches were reopened for active-use only beginning Saturday, April 25, ending a roughly two-week-long closure to stem the spread of coronavirus. Photo: Shawn Raymundo


May 1 – State orders all Orange County beaches to close

May 1 – Defying state orders, Nomads Canteen reopens dine-in services, drawing crowds

May 4 – State allows San Clemente beaches to open for active recreation

May 7 – Orange County reopens county-operated beaches for active recreation

May 8 – California moves into Stage 2 of reopening plan allowing retail to offer curbside pickup

May 9 – Orange County records 100th coronavirus-related death

May 18 – Orange County reopens limited parking at county-operated beaches

May 21 – A protest against fencing around beach parking lot at Pier Bowl leads to multiple arrests

A crowd of protesters video and photograph Alan Hostetter as he clings to a fence during a rally he organized to tear down the fencing around the Pier Bowl parking lot on Thursday, May 21. Photo: Shawn Raymundo

May 23 – Orange County expands further into Stage 2 of reopening plan with dine-in restaurants, malls, office buildings and outdoor museums resuming operations

May 23 – United States tops 100,000 coronavirus-related deaths

May 26 – California surpasses 100,000 coronavirus cases

May 28 – United States surpasses 100,000 coronavirus-related deaths

May 29 – San Clemente reopens city beach parking lots in full capacity

Felisha Dunne performs in the backyard of her Laguna Beach home during a virtual concert supporting H.H. Cotton’s in Downtown San Clemente on Saturday, May 16. Photo: Shawn Raymundo


June 2 – San Clemente City Council approves a business assistance initiative, allowing restaurants to transition to outdoor dining

June 8 – Orange County top health officer Dr. Nichole Quick resigns after protests at home and death threats due to county mask order

June 10 – United States hits 2 million coronavirus cases

June 11 – Orange County mask-wearing requirement relaxed to “strongly suggested”

June 12 – Retail stores, dine-in restaurants, bars, churches, hair and nail salons, gyms, movie theaters and other businesses allowed to reopen with health and safety modifications in California

June 13 – Orange County surpasses 10,000 coronavirus cases

June 18 – California orders statewide mask-wearing requirement

June 29 – Orange County one of 19 counties put on state’s coronavirus watch list with rising case rates, testing positivity and hospitalization rates

Joey Abi-Loutfi, 40, looks to dribble past Gus Day, 18, during a pickup basketball game at Jim Johnson Memorial Sports Park’s reopened courts on Monday, June 15. Photo: Shawn Raymundo


July 1 – Restaurants, wineries, movie theaters, family entertainment centers, zoos, museums and cardrooms in watch-list counties ordered to close indoor operations

July 2 – Orange County bars, breweries and brewpubs that do not offer dine-in meals ordered to close

July 4 – Orange County surpasses 500 coronavirus-related deaths

July 4-5 – County-operated beaches and beach parking lots closed for Independence Day weekend

July 7 – United States surpasses 3 million coronavirus cases

July 8 – Orange County hits single-day summertime high of 1,333 new coronavirus cases, tops 20,000 total cases

(From left) San Clemente residents Dre Delancellotti, 30, Anne Ocampo, 32, and Christian Kekel, 29, enjoy some libations and a cheese plate at The Cellar’s open-air dining area in Downtown San Clemente on Friday, July 10. Photo: Shawn Raymundo

July 9 – San Clemente restaurants and city launch open-air dining in the downtown corridor

July 13 – Barbershops, salons, personal care services, fitness centers, places of worship, indoor malls and offices in non-critical sectors in watch-list counties ordered to close indoor operations

July 14 – Orange County hits summertime high of coronavirus hospitalizations at 722

July 17 – State announces plan for reopening schools connected to state coronavirus watch list

July 20 – Barbershops and salons allowed to reopen with outdoor operations in California

July 28 – United States surpasses 150,000 coronavirus-related deaths

July 31 – California hits 500,000 COVID-19 cases


Aug. 6 – California surpasses 10,000 coronavirus-related deaths

Aug. 8 – United States surpasses 5 million coronavirus cases

Aug. 11 – Orange County tops 1,000 coronavirus-related deaths

Aug. 18 – CUSD begins school year with online learning

Aug. 19 – First teen in Orange County dies due to COVID-19

Aug. 23 – Orange County removed from state’s coronavirus watch list

Aug. 28 – California replaces state coronavirus county watch list with four-tiered, color-coded monitoring system; Orange County opens in highest-risk purple “widespread” tier with restrictions on many sectors

(From left) San Clemente residents Keahna Hall, 25, and Larissa Hewitt, 24, dine out at Rancho Capistrano Winery in Downtown San Clemente on Monday, Sept. 14. Photo: Shawn Raymundo


Sept. 3 – Orange County surpasses 50,000 coronavirus cases

Sept. 8 – Orange County moves down into state’s red “substantial” tier – the second-highest coronavirus monitoring tier – clearing the way for reopenings in several sectors, including schools and limited indoor dining

Sept. 15 – The San Clemente City Council approves program allowing local fitness centers and churches to operate on city parks

Sept. 21 – United States tops 200,000 coronavirus-related deaths

Sept. 28 – Worldwide COVID-19 death toll surpasses 1 million

Sept. 28-29 – CUSD schools begin to resume in-person instruction

Palisades Elementary School students and staff on campus follow safety guidelines during the COVID-19 pandemic. Photo: Collin Breaux


Oct. 6 – State adds health equity metric to coronavirus monitoring system to address higher rates of COVID-19 impact on low-income, racially diverse neighborhoods

Oct. 6 – CUSD middle schools resume in-person instruction

Oct. 8 – United States surpasses 10 million coronavirus cases

Oct. 13 – CUSD high schools resume in-person instruction

Oct. 21 – Orange County tops 1,500 coronavirus-related deaths


Nov. 13 – California surpasses 1 million coronavirus cases

Nov. 16 – California pulls “emergency brake” on coronavirus monitoring system as COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations surge; OC falls back to purple tier

Nov. 18 – United States tops 250,000 coronavirus-related deaths

Nov. 19 – State issues limited stay-at-home order to cease overnight activities in purple tier counties

Where California’s counties stand in the state’s four-tiered, color-coded coronavirus monitoring system as of Dec. 22. Graphic: California Department of Public Health


Dec. 3 – Orange County hits new pandemic high of coronavirus hospitalizations at 746

Dec. 6 – Regional stay-at-home order enacted for Southern California as available ICU capacity dips below 15%

Dec. 7 – United States surpasses 15 million coronavirus cases

Dec. 8 – Orange County surpasses 100,000 COVID-19 cases

Dec. 8 – California reports 20,000th coronavirus-related death

Dec. 10 – California tops 1.5 million coronavirus cases

Dec. 14 – First coronavirus vaccines administered in California

Dec. 14 – United States tops 300,000 coronavirus-related deaths

Dec. 16 – First coronavirus vaccines administered in Orange County

Dec. 17 – Orange County, Southern California region hit 0% adjusted available ICU capacity

Dec. 19 – Orange County hits single-day pandemic high of 3,445 new coronavirus cases

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