JACKSONVILLE, Fla. (AP) — Some north Florida beaches are opening starting Friday, becoming among the first beaches to reopen in the state since coronavirus concerns forced beachgoers away.
Mayor Lenny Curry said Duval County’s beaches are reopening Friday afternoon with restricted hours, and they can only be used for walking, biking, hiking, fishing, running, swimming and surfing.
Beaches and parks in Duval County will reopen Friday, April 17 at 5 p.m. with certain restrictions. Beaches will only be open from 6am to 11am and 5pm to 8pm
— City of Jacksonville (COJ) (@CityofJax) April 16, 2020
The beaches will be open between 6 a.m. and 11 a.m. and 5 p.m. to 8 p.m. Gatherings of 50 or more people are prohibited and people must still practice social distancing.
The city said in a tweet that, "It is for exercise only - No chairs, coolers, sunbathing, or towels/blankets laid out to sit on."
Florida officials were criticized for leaving beaches open during spring break last month. Most counties closed their beaches in response.
On Friday, Gov. Ron DeSantis gave the green light for some beaches and parks to reopen if it can be done safely after being closed because of the coronavirus.