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Decision to reopen Jacksonville beaches draws national media attention, scrutiny

The news that Duval County had reopened its beaches on the same day that Florida reported 58 deaths from the novel coronavirus — the highest daily death toll since the pandemic began — was reported by national media outlets over the weekend like The Washington Post, CBS News, The New York Times, CNN, Fox News and USA Today.

#FloridaMorons trends after people flock to reopened Florida beaches
On the same day as Florida's highest daily coronavirus Jacksonville News death toll, DeSantis told reporters that it’s essential Floridians get exercise outdoors

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The images of thousands of people on Jacksonville Beach on Friday evening spread across the internet and even spawned an insulting hashtag on Twitter that was still trending on Sunday: #FloridaMoron.

‘Very, Very Scary’: Officials Dumbfounded as Florida Beaches Reopen, 3 Days After Death Spike #SmartNews #FloridaMoron …

‘Very, Very Scary’: Officials Dumbfounded as Florida Beaches Reopen, 3 Days After Death Spike
“This move is so dumb that I had to make sure it wasn’t fake news,” one city commissioner tweeted. “You guys, it isn’t fake news.”

Jacksonville Mayor Lenny Curry was defensive about the national coverage in a series of tweets on Saturday.

“We need methodical steps to open our cities,” Curry tweeted. “Shutting down cities indefinitely is not an option. National media has responsibility here. I’m gonna lead a step by step way forward. Governors and mayors will do the same. National media please Press Release Distribution Service In Jacksonville think responsibly before u publish.”

“Citizens make decisions based on what is reported by media,” he wrote in another tweet. “This worldwide pandemic has given certain cable news outlets and international media an issue to drive ratings. Local journalists/media will share the facts. Tune into and read local news.”

“While there was a large crowd when the beaches reopened, people are following guidelines,” Nikki Kimbleton, Curry’s spokeswoman, told the Washington Post. “There’s been a vast difference in crowd size since that initial 5 p.m. Friday opening.”

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