Following President Donald Trump’s announcement that state officials can decide when to lift COVID-19 restrictions, Florida’s governor Ron DeSantis gave the green light today for some beaches in Florida to begin reopening.
Beaches in Jacksonville will be among the first to reopen in the United States as the COVID-19 pandemic reaches its peak in the country with over 30,000 deaths.
Jacksonville Mayor, Lenny Curry, said Duval County’s beaches were reopening Friday afternoon with restricted hours. Curry said the beaches can only be used for walking, biking, hiking, fishing, running, swimming, taking care of pets and surfing.
The beaches will be open between 6 a.m. and 11 a.m. and 5 p.m. to 8 p.m., Curry said in a video posted to social media. Gatherings of 50 or more people are prohibited and people must still have to keep their distance from one another.
Beaches and parks in Duval County will reopen Friday, April 17 at 5 p.m. with certain restrictions. Beaches will only be open from 6am to 11am and 5pm to 8pm
— City of Jacksonville (COJ) (@CityofJax) April 16, 2020
At a news conference in Fort Lauderdale, DeSantis said that some municipalities should feel free to start opening up parks and beaches, but it would have to be done safely with distancing guidelines remaining in place.
DeSantis said it was important for people to have access to the amenities that outside provides including sunshine and fresh air as well as an opportunity to exercise.
“Do it in a good way. Do it in a safe way,” DeSantis said.