One year ago this week, life as we know it changed in San Antonio as the COVID-19 pandemic started

This week in March 2020, there were new cancelations and restrictions daily

(San Antonio COVID-19 Image)
(San Antonio COVID-19 Image)

SAN ANTONIOEditor’s note: This story is a look back at some of the biggest developments of the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020. See a full timeline here.

One year ago, life as we knew it changed on March 11 as the World Health Organization announced that the coronavirus had become a pandemic.

Nobody could have guessed how much life would change and for how long, but it was clear that the situation was escalating quickly as each day over the next week brought new cancelations and restrictions.

Here’s a look back at some of the dramatic changes that occurred from March 11 to March 18 in San Antonio as COVID-19 officially became a crisis.

March 11, 2020

  • The San Antonio Spurs’ 2019-2020 season was cut short when the NBA decided to suspend the season until further notice.
  • The World Health Organization (WHO) declared that the global coronavirus crisis was officially a pandemic.
  • The Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo was canceled halfway through its scheduled run.
  • Universities and colleges across San Antonio announced an extension to spring break.
  • CPS Energy announced it would suspend energy disconnections for customers.

March 12, 2020

  • San Antonio school districts began announcing extended closures due to growing COVID-19 concerns. The majority of San Antonio students did not return to school following spring break, which lasted March 9-13.
  • Several collegiate and professional sporting leagues also began canceling play in the wake of the outbreak.

March 13, 2020

  • Bexar County Judge Wolff and Mayor Nirenberg declared public health emergencies. The emergency prohibited large gatherings of 500 people or more.
  • Subsequently, the 2020 Tejano Music Awards Fan Fair and St. Patrick’s Day Festival and River Parade were canceled.
  • San Antonio also confirmed its first travel-related coronavirus case. The case was not related to any of the evacuees at JBSA-Lackland who were infected with the virus.
  • Fiesta San Antonio announced the city’s biggest annual event that was scheduled for April would be postponed until November, though it was eventually canceled entirely.
  • Abbott declared a statewide emergency and announced that San Antonio would be the first city in the state to have a “drive-thru” testing facility for COVID-19. Trump declared the coronavirus pandemic a national emergency.
  • Churches also began to announce changes to services.

March 14, 2020

March 16, 2020

  • Mayor Ron Nirenberg updated an emergency declaration that prohibited public gatherings of more than 50 people in the city limits. The declaration also urged the public to avoid social gatherings of more than 10 people.
  • Abbott announced that the State of Texas Assessments of Academic Readiness, or STAAR, testing requirements would be waived for the academic school year.
  • Some of the malls in San Antonio and many of the retailers began to close or limit hours.
  • The first COVID-19 death in Texas was reported in Matagorda County.

March 17, 2020

March 18, 2020

  • Nirenberg issued a new emergency declaration, ordering bars and restaurant dining rooms to close.
  • Bexar County officials announced many changes in protocols at the jail to limit the potential for a community spread.
  • Texans were allowed to order alcohol to be delivered with food.

March 19, 2020

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About the Authors:

Julie Moreno has worked in local television news for more than 20 years. She came to KSAT as a news producer in 2000. After producing thousands of newscasts, she transitioned to the digital team in 2015. She writes on a wide variety of topics from breaking news to trending stories and manages KSAT’s daily digital content strategy.

Rebecca Salinas has worked as a digital journalist in San Antonio for six years. Her skills include content management, engagement and reporting.