Some Florida beaches began to reopen on Friday, April 17 as the number of COVID-19 cases in the state surpassed 25,000.
Governor Ron DeSantis announced that beaches were permitted to reopen Friday afternoon if they could do so safely, and by early evening some beaches in Jacksonville had began to reopen, allowing residents to stroll and surf.
The beaches are to operate within restricted hours, from 6-11 a.m. and 5-8 p.m. Officials said that activities should be limited to exercise and pet-care, while sunbathing and lounging were still prohibited.
“No chairs, coolers, sunbathing, or towels/blankets laid out to sit on,” read a tweet from the City of Jacksonville’s official account.
📢 Reminder 📢
When Duval County beaches & parks open today from 5pm to 8pm it is for exercise only – No chairs, coolers, sunbathing, or towels/blankets laid out to sit on.
— City of Jacksonville (COJ) (@CityofJax) April 17, 2020
The decision to reopen some beaches came on the same day that Florida saw 1,400 new cases of the virus, marking the biggest single-day increase in the number of new infections since the crisis began, according to the Tampa Bay Times.
As of April 19, Florida total coronavirus cases are nearly 26,000. 764 people in the state have died from the virus, with 175 of those deaths coming from Florida’s elder care facilities.
Gov. Ron DeSantis on Saturday released a list of nursing homes and assisted living facilities that have reported cases of COVID-19.