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Crowds gather for local parades as COVID-19 cases climb

Local parades aim to get Northeast Florida residents in festive mood

Celebrating the holidays despite COVID
Celebrating the holidays despite COVID

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – As Florida reported its third consecutive day of more than 10,000 newly confirmed coronavirus cases, large crowds gathered for events across Jacksonville.

A decorated Golf Cart and Bike Parade in Atlantic and Neptune beaches culminated in a tree lighting at the Beaches Town Center on Saturday, featuring Santa.

Organizers asked parade-goers to socially distance and encouraged them to wear masks.

News4Jax saw groups both wearing masks and not wearing masks and most tried to keep their distance from one another, but some spots along the parade route did get more congested.

Crowds gather for local parades as COVID-19 cases climb
Crowds gather for local parades as COVID-19 cases climb

Participants said they hope people try to keep others safe, but they wanted to get out with their families and bring on some holiday spirit.

“We’re just trying to stay socially distant and stay as far away from people as we can. If it gets too crowded then we will just head out,” Jeremy Cadorette said. “We usually wear masks, but we figured since we’re outside, so I suggested it but we don’t have our masks right now.”

For the tree lighting, visitors were spread out down First Street.

“We are still going to try and have some fun but yes, definitely going to maintain some distance from everyone,” Taylor Self said. “I think people are getting a little relaxed with everything. But hopefully, people kind of remember what’s going on and how serious it actually is.”

Holiday crowds give jolt to local businesses
Holiday crowds give jolt to local businesses

Business was steady for many of the restaurants who told News4Jax it’s the boost they needed after earlier this year when they were closed or limited on services.

The Florida Department of Health reported 10,431 new cases of COVID-19 in the state on Saturday with 494 new cases in Duval County. Jacksonville also reported two more deaths to bring Duval County’s total to 637 since March.

Experts say the spiking numbers aren’t yet reflecting the Thanksgiving holiday, so they could climb even higher.

In Green Cove Springs, citizens hosted a golf cart parade on Highway 17, starting behind the Supervisor of Elections Office.

Green Cove Springs golf cart parade (WJXT)

About the Authors:

A Florida girl and North Carolina A&T SU grad who thrives in breaking news.