The move to reopen beaches has so far been a good one, Jacksonville Beach, Florida, Mayor Charlie Latham said Monday.
“There is [sic] a lot of people that are upset that we’ve opened, but we’re not requiring anybody to go to the beach,” the mayor said during an interview on Fox & Friends.
We’re making the beach available as long as they meet various strict compliance requirements and so far citizens have done that, our visitors have done that so right now we believe it’s a good decision. If things were to change, we could certainly shut it down in just a very short period of time if we need to.
The decision was made by all four mayors in Duval County, according to Latham.
“We thought that the public was ready to maintain the social distancing standards and to exercise good judgment and it’s paid off. It’s paid off really well,” he noted.
Friday on Twitter, Action News Jax reporter Russell Colburn shared photos of Jacksonville Beach just after the reopening:
— Russell Colburn (@RussellANjax) April 17, 2020
In answer to critics who said allowing people back on the beaches was the wrong move during the pandemic, Latham said social distancing rules were still in place and people were not allowed to lay out.
“You’re not allowed to have coolers. You’re not allowed to have chairs or even towels to lay out on,” he noted.
“If you want to run, jog, swim, surf, fish, you can do that, but you still need to maintain the social distancing requirement and if they don’t, we tend to educate first and then we warn second and then we take action third,” Latham continued.
The beaches will be open from six to 11 a.m. and five to 8 p.m. and groups of more than ten people are prohibited, according to Fox News.
Saturday during a White House press briefing, Dr. Deborah Birx said if Florida health officials believed it was safe for residents to go to the beaches, she would not “second judge an individual’s approach to this.”
“They have some of the best county public health individuals I have ever had to deal with, they are amazing,” she concluded.