JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – It looks like Jacksonville won’t be making a splash this Memorial Day weekend, as city pools will remain closed because of the coronavirus.
“Usually pools are opening this weekend, and I wish they were, but they’re not at this moment in time,” Mayor Lenny Curry said Thursday.
He said that’s another issue that the city is working through as Jacksonville moves into the next phase of reopening.
"We are working with the governor. It is my goal we can responsibly get pools and summer camps open, get them open as safely as possible,” Curry said
As for personal recreational camping, some of the city campgrounds will be open.
“We are taking reservations at Hanna and Huguenot parks. Both are booked for Memorial Day weekend, but are excepting reservations for other times for campers moving forward," Curry said.
As for team sports, Curry said he is getting all types of questions regarding when children can return to the fields. He hopes to make an announcement on that soon.
“Well, these activities are not currently allowed under a full phase one. My team and I continue to work with Gov. (Ron) DeSantis and his team on this and reopening efforts to hope to get activities moving again soon,” Curry said.
The city will also be hosting a virtual Memorial Day Observance, which will include honoring veterans at the Jacksonville Veterans Memorial Wall. The digital observance will be posted to the city’s YouTube channel and social media platforms, as well as on News4Jax.com, on Monday.
Mayor emphasizes importance of coronavirus precautions, testing
The mayor on Thursday also made a point of saying it’s important for people to wear masks when they are out in public and in confined spaces, but he’s not going to make it mandatory.
“This is not a police state. We are not going to mandate this kind of stuff. You just can’t do it. This is new to all of us. It’s not something more custom,” Curry said.
The mayor stressed again that testing for COVID-19 and antibodies are important, and that testing continues at Lot J outside TIAA Bank Field and the Legends Center on the Northside. Plus, the mayor said CVS pharmacies are expanding testing. For more information, visit coj.net/covid19testing.
“We are planning on continuing to expand testing. If demand dipped tomorrow by a major magnitude, we are still going to need testing as long as the virus is with us,” Curry said. “While the medical community at large is working hard, the fact is, we may not have a vaccine for this virus for quite some time.”
The city closed the testing site at the Prime Osborn Convention Center this week but has received federal funding to add other locations.
“That’s evolving and being finalized,” said Director of Emergency Operations Steve Woodard.
The mayor had planned to have local hospital leaders on hand Thursday to talk about why we still need to pay attention to social distancing and even wear masks, saying it’s just being responsible. He hopes to be able to do that next week.
On a day when the mayor talked about added testing, the Florida Department of Health reported that 48,676 people have tested positive for the coronavirus. That’s an increase of 1,204 from Wednesday, the largest uptick in COVID-19 cases in nearly a month.