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Jacksonville beaches to reopen Friday after coronavirus shutdown

Posted at 8:08 PM, Apr 16, 2020
and last updated 2020-04-16 20:08:20-04

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. (WTXL) — Jacksonville Mayor Lenny Curry announced Thursday that all Duval County beaches and parks will reopen on Friday at 5 p.m.

In a city news release, officials said beaches and parks will reopen "with restrictions for essential activities only," as defined by Governor Ron DeSantis.

The "essential activities" include walking, biking, hiking, fishing, running, swimming, taking care of pets and surfing, as long as they're done within social distancing guidelines.

Jacksonville's beaches closed almost a month ago.

“This can be the beginning of the pathway back to normal life,” Curry said in the news release. “Please respect and follow these limitations. Stay within the guidelines for your safety as well as for the safety of your neighbors.”

Jacksonville beaches will be open from 6 a.m. to 11 a.m. and from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m. the news release states. Beaches will be closed during all other time periods.

"Please be advised that you are swimming and surfing at your own risk," officials wrote.

Parks owned and operated by the City of Jacksonville will resume normal hours beginning Friday at 5 p.m., however, gatherings are limited to fewer than 50 people, according to Curry's executive order.

Curry also announced playgrounds and the City of Jacksonville golf courses will reopen during normal operating hours, but individuals must follow social distancing requirements.

The city announced the following restrictions still in place:

• No overnight camping at Hanna or Huguenot parks is permitted
• 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

Mayor Curry's full announcement can be viewed here.