JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – As Jacksonville continues to see more cases of COVID-19, Mayor Lenny Curry said right now is not the time to let up on the county’s safety measures and reopen the beaches -- despite several organized efforts to change the minds of city leadership.
Curry said the 10 deaths so far in Duval County related to coronavirus are 10 too many, and that is why he is not about to let down his guard.
He said he knows the city has not reached a peak, but right now, he believes measures are working to keep the city safe.
Curry said he is in touch with the beaches leadership daily and they discuss the possibility of reopening the beaches, but he does not see that happening anytime soon
“The likelihood of people hearing the beaches are open and coming in from town and everywhere and even parking blocks off and flooding our beaches is just a risk we are not willing to take. It's an unnecessary risk,” Curry said. “The most important thing right now is public safety and stopping the spread of this virus. We cannot unnecessarily have people potentially within 6 feet of each other, wall-to-wall, spreading this virus. I know it's frustrating.”
The mayor appeared visibly upset during his daily news conference Tuesday when he turned his attention to the violent crime the city is still facing -- including the murder of a 5-year-old girl who was caught in the crossfire of a shootout Monday night.
Curry said he is working with Sheriff Mike Williams on trying to curb the violence, and they talk daily about whether to institute a curfew for the city.
“I had mentioned the issue with the curfew before, about its enforceability and, again, how are we deploying resources for public safety in a way that's most well-served for the public but also not putting undue stress on our police officers and our firefighters?” Curry said. “The option of a curfew is certainly on the table.”
Director Mike Bruno with the Jacksonville Sheriff's Office said even if a curfew had been in place, it likely wouldn't have helped the child who was shot Monday night, because the shooting happened in the afternoon.
He said it's unacceptable that a small percentage of individuals in the city see gunfire as a way to solve conflicts.
“We need to continue focusing on them and arresting them, and that’s what the Sheriff’s Office is working on,” Bruno said.
JSO announced the names of two men accused in the shooting death of the little girl.