Packed beaches remain open despite COVID-19 concerns

Jacksonville Beach mayor says beaches open to public

JACKSONVILLE BEACH, Fla. – The last several days at Jacksonville’s beaches have been busy, as students don’t have school to return to and many people have been asked to stay home from the office in an effort to contain the spread of the new coronavirus.

The crowds are causing some concerns about the spread of COVID-19. However, Jacksonville Beach Mayor Charlie Latham said he does not expect the city to close beaches to the public, and the situation is under control.

Latham and other beaches leaders met Monday with Jacksonville Mayor Lenny Curry to discuss their unified response to the outbreak.

They agreed to a limit of 50 people in public restaurants, bars and stores starting at 5 p.m. Monday. Alcohol sales will also be banned from midnight to 8 a.m.

With stores and entertainment options limited, tens of thousands of people journeyed to Jacksonville’s beaches over the weekend.

“We get no school and we can do whatever we want,” said Marty Shuler, a Suwannee County student visiting Jacksonville Beach.

It’s an extended spring break for local students. From elementary school to college students, they hit the beach today.

“It’s kind of boring to be honest with you,” said Christopher Grubbs, a Florida State College at Jacksonville student who enjoyed the day with friends near the pier. “I wish there’s more stuff to do -- actually go to class.”

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