Sunday 19 April 2020

Jacksonville Mayor To Reopen Beaches For ‘Essential Activities Only,’ With Restricted Hours

On Thursday, Lenny Curry, the mayor of Jacksonville, Florida, announced that beginning on Friday evening, beaches would open up to “essential activities,” but remain off-limits during certain hours.
“This video is to announce that as of 5:00 p.m. tomorrow, we will be reopening the beaches and parks throughout Duval County for essential activities only. This decision was made in collaboration with law enforcement, first responders, and the beaches’ mayors – Charlie Latham, Ellen Glasser, and Elaine Brown,” Curry began.
The mayor then defined what “essential activities” are:
As defined in governor [Ron] DeSantis’ executive order 2091, essential activities include the following: participating in recreational activities consistent with social distancing guidelines such as walking, biking, hiking, fishing, running, swimming, taking care of pets, and surfing.
The mayor also noted that there will be restrictions on the hours that beaches will be open:
In addition to limits on activities, beaches will only be open from 6 a.m. to 11 a.m. each morning and from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m. each evening.
Curry added that city parks will be open “for normal hours,” but that “public gathering locations like pavilions and picnic areas will remain closed.”
“My executive order for social distancing guidelines that limits gatherings to fewer than 50 people still stands,” Curry stated before directing those seeking additional information to go to the city’s website.
“Folks, this can be the beginning of the pathway back to normal life, but please respect and follow these limitations,” Curry said. “Stay within the guidelines for your safety, as well as for the safety of your neighbors. As I mentioned in this morning’s press conference, the data for Duval County is encouraging. For now, we need to stay the course and continue taking precautions. We’ll get back to life as we know it, but we must be patient. We’re close. Thank you, and have a safe weekend.”
The City of Jacksonville website states that “sunbathing, towels, blankets, chairs, coolers, grills, etc,” will not “be permitted” on the beaches.

During a press conference on Friday, Florida Governor Ron DeSantis promoted “essential activities with recreation.” He also seemed to mock the over-policing of certain activities during the COVID-19 pandemic.
“I get a kick out of seeing, like, somebody jogging on the beach in California, like, all by his lonesome, and you’ve got a fleet of cops go out there. He’s just jogging,” DeSantis said. “Going forward, I think, we gotta be promoting people to get exercise – do it in a good way, do it in a safe way…”
“But that’s basically been a local decision because I thought that there needed to be an outlet for people to be able to do things safely,” DeSantis added.
COVID-19, which originated in China’s Hubei province, has infected over 2.2 million people worldwide, and led to more than 153,100 deaths, according to data from Johns Hopkins Center for Systems Science and Engineering (CSSE) Global Cases map. 565,957 people have recovered.
In the United States, there have been more than 692,100 confirmed cases of COVID-19, and over 36,700 deaths. As of publication, 58,437 individuals have recovered from the virus in the U.S.
In Duval, Florida, there have been 817 confirmed cases, and 15 deaths.

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