Jacksonville Beaches to Reopen with Limitations on Friday

Mateo Saez prepares to enter the ocean water off of Haulover Beach where a rare shark attack occured on Sunday afternoon on July 11, 2017 in Sunny Isles, Florida. Miami-Dade Fire Rescue officials said they believe the person bitten, Elvin Lanza, was bitten by a 4- to 5-foot bull shark. …
Joe Raedle/Getty Images

Jacksonville, Florida, Mayor Lenny Curry announced Thursday that Jacksonville’s beaches will reopen on Friday at 5:00 p.m. for essential activities after being encouraged by positive data regarding COVID-19.

According to Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis’s Executive Order, essential activities include participation in recreational activities consistent with social distancing guidelines like walking, biking, hiking, fishing, running, swimming, taking care of pets, and surfing.

“This can be the beginning of the pathway back to normal life,” Curry said in a statement. “Please respect and follow these limitations. Stay within the guidelines for your safety as well as for the safety of your neighbors.”

People will be swimming at their own risk and the beaches will open from 6:00 a.m. to 11:00 a.m. each morning and from 5 :00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. each afternoon. The beaches will be closed during other times.

The beaches that will reopen include Jacksonville, Neptune, and Atlantic, which have all been closed since March 20.

Jacksonville city-owned beaches will resume normal hours of operation starting at 5:00 p.m., but Curry’s order limiting gatherings to 50 people or less will remain in effect.

Additional notes regarding the reopening of the beaches include:

  • No overnight camping at Hanna or Huguenot parks.
  • Playground amenity usage must follow social distancing requirements.
  • No organized group activities are permitted – this includes picnics or gatherings, team sports, or any type of group activity.
  • All park restroom facilities are closed.
  • Pavilions and picnic areas are closed.

Jacksonville’s mayor also thanked the residents of the city for their effort in abiding by the stay-at-home order and practicing social distancing.

“We are near our peak and hospitalizations are at a level of manageability below our local capacity,” Curry said Thursday afternoon during a video conference. “That consistency for the last two weeks appears to be the flattening that we need. We’ll know for sure within the next week.”

“We’re going to get back to life. We’ve just got to be patient. Pay attention to us over the next week and look forward to how we move forward in the days ahead,” Curry added.

Follow Kyle on Twitter @RealKyleMorris and Facebook.

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