California Lifts Regional Stay-At-Home Order To Allow Restaurants & Other Business Sectors To Resume Certain Operations

January 25, 2021

California has lifted the regional coronavirus stay-at-home order, which allows for restaurants and other business sectors in San Diego to reopen some onsite services. 

After 7 weeks of forced closures, the California Department of Public Health has announced the end of the regional stay-at-home order. Southern California's regional stay-at-home order, which included all of San Diego County, first went into effect on December 7 and was extended indefinitely through the new year on December 29. Although regional intensive care unit capacity continues to be estimated to be critical, signs of improvement seen in four-week ICU projections resulted in the decision to lift the regional stay-at-home order. The projected ICU capacity for Southern California for 4-weeks leading up until February 21 is 33.3%.

"Californians heard the urgent message to stay home as much as possible and accepted that challenge to slow the surge and save lives," explained California Department of Public Health director Dr. Tomás Aragón. "Together, we changed our activities knowing our short-term sacrifices would lead to longer-term gains. COVID-19 is still here and still deadly, so our work is not over, but it’s important to recognize our collective actions saved lives and we are turning a critical corner."

All California counties will return to the 4-colored tier system and framework of the Blueprint for a Safer Economy that assesses risk levels based on case rates and test positivity percentage per county. San Diego will return to the most restrictive purple tier, which results in a continued prohibition on indoor operations at restaurants, bars, breweries, wineries, fitness centers, churches, museums, zoos and aquariums. Personal care services, like barbershops, hair and nail salons, tattoo parlors, and piercing shops, can open indoors with modifications. Retail businesses are limited to 25% capacity indoors while grocery stores are limited to 50% capacity. Household gatherings are also now allowed, but they should be limited to no more than three households and the interactions must occur outdoors. People must also keep their distance and wear a mask. The 10pm to 5am curfew remains in effect.  

While the state order has been lifted, each individual county may continue to impose stricter restrictions than that required on a state level. San Diego County Supervisor Nathan Fletcher announced this afternoon that restaurants, wineries, bars, breweries and distilleries that serve food will now be permitted to resume outdoor dining from 5am to last seating by 10pm (must close by 11pm, take-out can serve 24 hours). Live entertainment at restaurants is now allowed. Hotels can also open at normal capacity. Gatherings of up to 3 households are now permitted. 

Counties must remain in their current tier for three weeks and post case rates and testing positivity percentage in the higher tier for two weeks before moving into the less restrictive level. Tier updates are provided weekly on Tuesdays.  

To learn more about what business sectors are permitted to open and to what extent, visit

This is a developing story. We will update this post as we learn more.