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Jacksonville-area coronavirus updates: Beaches, parks in Duval County will reopen Friday with certain restrictions

Now that Jacksonville Mayor Lenny Curry has announced that beaches and parks throughout Duval County will reopen Friday, April 17, 2020 at 5 p.m., with restrictions for essential activities only, Action News Jax is reaching out to other counties on the status of their beaches.

Nassau County said its beaches remain closed, but county officials will hold a meeting on Friday morning and the status of the beaches will be discussed.
St. Johns County officials told Action News Jax reporter Russell Colburn that St. Johns County beaches remain closed and they will not base their decision on Jacksonville News what other areas are doing.
In Southeast Georgia, Glynn County beaches have been open since April 3 solely for the purpose of exercise in accordance with Gov. Brian Kemp’s shelter-in-place order.
On Friday at 11 a.m., Beaches Mayors -- Jacksonville Beach Mayor Charlie Latham, Neptune Beach Mayor Elaine Brown, and Atlantic Beach Mayor Ellen Glasser -- will hold a press conference regarding the opening of Duval County beaches at the lifeguard station in Jacksonville Beach.

Beaches, parks in Duval County will reopen Friday with certain restrictions
April 16, 4:50 p.m.: Jacksonville Mayor Lenny Curry announced that beaches and parks throughout Duval County will reopen Friday, April 17, 2020 at 5 p.m., withrestrictions for essential activities only. As defined in Governor Ron DeSantis’ Executive Order, essential activities include the following:

Participating in recreational activities consistent with social distancing guidelines such as walking, biking, hiking, fishing, running, swimming, taking care of pets and surfing
“This can be the beginning of the pathway back to normal life,” Mayor Lenny Curry said in a news release. “Please respect and follow these limitations. Stay within the guidelines for your safety as well as for the safety of your neighbors.”

In addition to limits on activities, beaches will open from 6 a.m. to 11 a.m. each morning and from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m. each evening. They will remain closed during all other time periods. Please be advised that you are swimming and surfing at your own risk.

In Jacksonville Beach, public parking is available west of 1st Street. Public parking lots and end zones will be closed east of 1st Street.

Parks that are owned and operated by the City of Jacksonville will resume normal hours starting at 5 p.m. Friday, April 17. However, Mayor Curry’s Executive Order that limits gatherings to fewer than 50 people, still stands. In addition:

City of Jacksonville golf courses will reopen during normal operating hours, but individuals must follow social distancing requirements
No overnight camping at Hanna or Huguenot parks is permitted
Playground amenity usage must follow social distancing requirements
No organized group activities are permitted – this includes picnics or gatherings, team sports, or any type of group activity
All park restroom facilities will remain closed
Pavilions and picnic areas will remain closed
National Guard takes over Lot J; testing criteria dropped and testing capacity increased
April 16, 4 p.m.: The federal government has handed the reins off to  Press Release Distribution Service In Jacksonville  the state for the Lot J COVID-19 testing site.

With the state now in charge, the amount of people who can be tested daily has increased from 400 to 750. Last week, it was only 250.

The testing criteria guidelines have also been lessened. You can now get tested, even if you do not have symptoms. This is so long as you fit one of the following categories:

First responder
Medical personnel
Has underlying health condition
Traveled to hot spot recently
Gone on cruise
Came in contact with someone who is positive
You can also get tested if you have respiratory symptoms.

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