Atlantic, Neptune, Jacksonville Beach mayors sign emergency declaration

Beaches will remain open amid COVID-19 pandemic, mayors say

Photo from Saturday news conference (

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – Neptune Beach Mayor Elaine Brown announced on Saturday that she and the mayors of Jacksonville and Neptune Beach will be signing an emergency declaration amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

The three mayors were joined by Jacksonville Mayor Lenny Curry, who on Friday signed an emergency declaration in Duval County. The mayors of the three beaches all said that the beaches would remain open.

“In order to not have City Council meetings and not encourage the public to gather, we are going to sign an emergency declaration as well,” said Mayor Brown. “The reason we are closing, of course, if to be a part of this curve to stop it.”

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The “curve" she was talking about was in reference to something Jacksonville Mayor Lenny Curry mentioned at the beginning of the Saturday news conference. The idea is, individuals and communities must take necessary steps to stay healthy and slow the virus’s spread.

“It’s called ‘flattening the curve,’ Curry said. “You saw -- it is happening in Italy. So, the actions that we’re taking will prevent and mitigate that scenario playing out here.”

Curry said it’s part of the effort for suspending events and gathering at city facilities in Jacksonville.

Atlantic Beach Mayor Ellen Glasser said the city’s state of emergency went into effect Friday night.

“We are ceasing our city meetings, at least through March, and we also are suspending any city sanctioned city sponsored activities in the city of Atlantic Beach,” Glasser said. “We really are discouraging gatherings of many people in those parks. We are going to continue our essential services and do everything we can to sanitize the facilities because we know people will use them.”

Jacksonville Beach Mayor Charlie Latham stressed everyone use “common sense.”

“It’s really critical at this point,” he said. “You need to make sure you’re explaining to your children how the virus spreads, and making sure their hands are cleaned and sanitizer is used.”

On Friday night, 25 new coronavirus cases were reported in Florida by the Department of Health. No additional cases were reported in Duval or surrounding counties.

A man in Duval County and a man in Clay County were two of the 16 new positive cases that were reported Thursday night by the Florida Department of Health.

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