Jacksonville City Hall reopens with restrictions

Everyone entering building will be screened by infrared thermometer

VIDEO: As the city gets ready to enter Phase 2 of reopening, downtown city offices opened, including city hall.

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – Most city offices in Jacksonville were scheduled to reopen Monday morning for the first time since shutting down for the pandemic in March. But City Hall, the Ed Ball building, JEA offices and the Tax Collector’s Office downtown did not reopen Monday or Tuesday after weekend protests shook the city.

Only essential employees returned to work, and a group of police in Hemming Park kept an eye on the city buildings Tuesday.

On Wednesday, City Hall reopened but left some offices closed to the public, including the City Council Chambers and the offices of City Council members. Meetings will continue to be held virtually as the city phases in reopening following the pandemic lockdown.

People entering City Hall will be screened by an infrared thermometer. If they show symptoms of possible COVID-19 infection, they will speak to a nurse and won’t be allowed to enter the building. They will be urged to get tested for coronavirus.

Jacksonville City Hall reopened Wednesday morning but not all offices are open to the public. (WJXT)

The Lot J site for coronavirus testing at TIAA Bank Field was closed Sunday to ensure public safety and that closure was extended to Monday, but the site reopened Tuesday as the mayor encouraged those who participated in the protests to get tested because of the large crowds.

Jacksonville cleaned up Monday morning after two days of downtown protests over the death of George Floyd and police brutality.

Customers who had appointments in hopes of getting driver’s licenses renewed or paying taxes at the Tax Collector’s Office swamped the phone lines Monday because of the last-minute schedule change, which caused confusion.

JEA reopened Tuesday.

The Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles began reopening some of its offices on Wednesday.

It was announced over the weekend that the Supervisor of Elections Office would not open to the public Monday after it was targeted by people during the violence that followed Saturday’s peaceful protest. The glass doors of the building on Monroe Street were smashed.

Multiple windows of the Jessie Ball duPont Center, at the corner of Ocean and Adams streets, were smashed during Saturday night’s clash with police.

Local stimulus payments were disrupted by the protests, too. The city of Jacksonville rescheduled its Sunday appointments for people seeking help with mortgages and rent. Those appointments are postponed until next weekend.

In an email Saturday, a city spokeswoman said the decision was made to delay those appointments “in order to ensure the safety of relief recipients and City of Jacksonville employees.”

About the Author:

Jim Piggott is the reporter to count on when it comes to city government and how it will affect the community.