JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – Dozens of fire inspectors have been going to businesses and reminding management of the Jacksonville mayor’s order banning recreational and social gathering establishments from having more than 50 people inside at one time in an attempt to stop the spread of the new coronavirus.
Video recorded Tuesday showed a Jacksonville Fire and Rescue Department fire marshal as he was leaving bestbet Jacksonville in Arlington.
Later, about 5 p.m., people were seen leaving bestbet after the company’s president decided to shut down the Jacksonville location. A sign outside the building reads, “bestbet Jacksonville Closed 3/17 | 5PM Until Further Notice.” The closed was also confirmed in a tweet.
UPDATE: bestbet Jacksonville will be closed from Tuesday, March 17th at 5pm until further notice. pic.twitter.com/3Nbdnm9XqX— bestbet Jacksonville (@bestbet_jax) March 17, 2020
Patrons told News4Jax that they don’t want bestbet to close and they feel safe, but the president of bestbet on Tuesday made the decision to close to protect people from the spread of the coronavirus.
Alvin Wiley, who comes to bestbet every week, is against the idea.
“I don’t think it’s a good idea,” he said.
Wiley told News4Jax on Monday that everyone was given gloves and had to sit at least one seat apart at bestbet.
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Chief Clarence Hodge with the Fire Prevention Division is one of 40 JFRD inspectors going around to make sure all businesses are compliant.
“What we are trying to do is prevent the spread of the disease. We feel like if we can contain it and prevent the spread of it -- we feel like the sooner we do that, the sooner we can get back to our normal lives,” Hodge said. “We are keeping the community safe.”
Impacted by the mayor’s new order are restaurants, arcades, movie theaters, gyms and churches. Inspectors said they will be working all week.
“Today and all of this week consist of getting the message out to all of the churches, as well,” Hodge said.
In addition, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis on Tuesday ordered all bars and nightclubs closed for 30 days starting at 5 p.m. Tuesday.
Though many people want to continue to live their daily lives, gatherings will have to be limited as the city and state tries to keep everyone safe.
While bestbet Orange Park did not close at 5 p.m. Tuesday, a Clay County spokesperson said the location closed at 5 p.m. Wednesday until further notice.