Easter service in Jacksonville Beach restores sense of normalcy for families

Many participants say they felt comfortable attending the service because they’ve been vaccinated

Many participants say they felt comfortable attending the service because they’ve been vaccinated.

JACKSONVILLE BEACH, Fla. – Easter was the first major holiday with COVID-19 shots available to many people.

Some families at an Easter service Sunday morning in Jacksonville Beach told News4Jax it feels like things are getting back to normal.

The service is an annual tradition for the Beaches Ministerial Association, but last year’s service was canceled due to COVID-19.

“I’ve come every year since I was in the third grade,” said a member of the Bailey family.

There was a large crowd of families spread out on lawn chairs and blankets across the lawn of Seawalk Pavilion for Sunday’s service. Some of them were close together, while others were socially distanced.

Many people told News4Jax they’ve been vaccinated, which is why they felt safe going to the service.

“We’ve all been vaccinated, and that was one of the factors of coming out today,” said a member of the Brinson family who has participated in the service for 10 years. “We feel safe and we’re distant from others. I think everyone is doing good with being safe and distant -- that was a factor of coming out.”

“I’m glad we’re getting to the end. We’re still a little bit apprehensive. We’ve had our first vaccine,” the member of the Bailey family said. “I’m glad that we’re finally all hopefully getting through this.”

Today marks the first major holiday during the COVID-19 pandemic with vaccines available to almost everyone.

On Sunday, the Florida Department of Health reported 6,299,638 people in Florida have received at least one COVID-19 shot, including 3,660,880 who have completed their one-dose or two-dose series. In Duval County, 246,652 people have been vaccinated, 146,566 of whom have completed their series.

Starting Monday, Floridians age 16 and older will be eligible for the COVID-19 vaccine.

“I’m so glad that we’re finally getting at least a little bit back to normal,” said the Bailey family member.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention offered recommendations to celebrate Easter safely. According to the CDC, those who are fully vaccinated against COVID-19 can gather safely indoors with other fully vaccinated people without wearing masks. The CDC advises those who aren’t fully vaccinated yet to only gather indoors with people in their own household or gather outside with masks and social distancing.

About the Author:

A Florida-born, Emmy Award winning journalist and proud NC A&T SU grad