In a scene that may repeat itself across Florida as the state takes the first steps toward a return to normal life, cheering crowds flocked to beaches in the Jacksonville area on Friday and Saturday, as they reopened for “essential activities” but still under social-distancing restrictions to slow the spread of the coronavirus.
Duval County opened its beaches at 5 p.m. on April 17, and people literally ran to the sand after police removed barricades that had blocked access for weeks, local TV reports showed. The beaches will be open in the morning until 11 a.m. and from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m.
The growing resistance against blanket shutdowns of beaches and parks is increasing pressure on local authorities to come up with plans for the reopening of open spaces as well as businesses. Gov. Ron DeSantis on Friday gave mayors the green light to reopen beaches in areas where it can be done safely. He is also working on creating a task force to prepare to reopen businesses across the state.