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Coronavirus testing at Lot J site scrubbed again Monday after Jacksonville unrest

Authorities say testing called off ‘in order to ensure the safety of patients and employees’

File photo: COVID-19 testing site on Lot J at TIAA Bank Field
File photo: COVID-19 testing site on Lot J at TIAA Bank Field (WJXT)

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – Coronavirus testing at the Lot J site was canceled Sunday out of concerns stemming from riots that erupted in downtown Jacksonville the night before.

Sunday evening the City of Jacksonville tweeted that the test site would be closed again on Monday to ensure public safety.

The Florida Association of Public Information Officers also verified that Lot J would be closed at the request of the City of Jacksonville.

In a statement, a spokesperson said there will be no tests administered at the Florida Division of Emergency Management site Sunday “to ensure the safety of patients and employees.” No other details were provided.

The parking lot outside TIAA Bank Field has been running for several weeks as a COVID-19 testing site. It’s typically open seven days a week from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. each day.

Tensions flared Saturday evening when an estimated 200 people who lingered after a peaceful demonstration downtown clashed with police and left a trail of property damage in their wake. The chaotic scene calmed down as the night wore on and police used crowd control equipment and techniques to scatter remaining rioters.

Besides Lot J testing, officials have also canceled mortgage and rent relief appointments on Sunday at the Jacksonville Library and Ed Ball building.