8/7/2020 6:30 p.m. EDT
Though businesses have largely reopened and schools are set to reopen this month, Jacksonville remains under a mandatory mask order for the time being. Gov. Ron DeSantis has expressed an interest in allowing visitation to resume at nursing homes and elder care facilities, but that has yet to happen.
Businesses & facilities
Florida’s top regulator began meeting with bars across the state, starting in Jacksonville to figure out how to safely get them reopened. Currently, restaurants can serve people at 50% capacity indoors in Florida. Other businesses such as gyms, movie theaters, hair and nail salons are also allowed to operate. Several major retailers are also requiring customers to wear masks.
In Jacksonville, people ages 6 and up are required to wear face coverings while indoors in public when social distancing isn’t possible. The mask mandate does not apply to people with breathing conditions or those seated inside restaurants. This week, Agriculture Commissioner Nikki Fried launched a campaign calling for Floridians to wear masks and practice social distancing.
Health care status
While Jacksonville has seen more than 22,800 coronavirus cases, they have resulted in 672 hospitalizations. Hospitals concerned over the surge of COVID-19 cases have added more restrictions for visitors. The governor wants to see visitors permitted for end-of-life patients and has announced a task force that will find a way to safely allow visitors in long-term care facilities.
Education Commissioner Richard Corcoran issued an order requiring districts to reopen five days a week in August. But DeSantis has said that parents should have a choice between distance learning and brick-and-mortar schools.
The Republican National Convention in Jacksonville has been called off. President Donald Trump made the surprise announcement late last month, saying it would send the wrong message to have a large gathering as cases continue to spike in Florida.
Food & dining
Though Jacksonville-area restaurants remain open with capacity limits in place, the story is markedly different in South Florida where Miami-Dade County officials closed restaurants, except for takeout, delivery and extremely limited outdoor dining.
The Jacksonville Transportation Authority continues to provide public transit service amid the pandemic, though the agency has adjusted its routes and schedules to accommodate demand. JTA has also introduced measures intended to keep employees and riders safe.
How to help
Jacksonville-area food banks and blood donation centers are among those seeking contributions during the pandemic. Learn how to donate food to those in need here, or click here to find out how to donate blood or plasma.