JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – Mayor Lenny Curry said Friday while testifying before a congressional subcommittee that he does not believe another shutdown would be sustainable if a second wave of the COVID-19 pandemic materializes.
“I do not believe it’s an option,” Curry said of forcing Jacksonville into another quarantine.
Curry was one of seven mayors who testified Friday via video conference before the U.S. House Subcommittee on Coronavirus Response.
He had plenty to say about Jacksonville and how the city’s citizens responded to the crisis.
“The people of Jacksonville are a kind, generous and resilient people. They have risen up to face this crisis in ways that are wise and compassionate. I am proud to serve as their mayor,” Curry said.
Curry explained how he believes Jacksonville stayed ahead of the curve when it came to people getting sick, but he pointed out how the pandemic led to another social problem.
“An example of the quarantine’s unintended impact in my city is seen in opioid overdoses,” Curry said. “Since we declared a state of emergency on March 13, our overdose 911 calls have outpaced the 2019 numbers every week.”
Curry also told members of Congress that people have struggled with depression and other mental health issues during the lockdown.
He was asked at one point if he or Gov. Ron DeSantis encouraged citizens to “snitch” on their neighbors.
"Absolutely not. In fact, yesterday, I had a press conference where I’m encouraging people to wear masks in dense places, but that it’s a personal decision,” Curry said. “I told people you don’t need to be policing your neighbors. This isn’t a police state.”
In a news conference Thursday, Curry and the city’s hospital leaders focused on what a responsible reopening looks like, encouraging Jacksonville residents to wear face masks in public spaces, continue good hygiene habits and maintain social distancing whenever possible.
“The improvements we’ve seen over the last month and weeks can be directly attributed to preventative and protective measures taken at state and local levels and the personal measures Jacksonville citizens are taking to protect themselves and loved ones,” Curry said. "By continuing these measures in the days and weeks ahead, we will safely and responsibly reopen our city and our economy.”