Beaches and parks reopened in and around Jacksonville, Florida, on Friday afternoon with the permission of Gov. Ron DeSantis (R) amid the novel COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic, despite the fact the state was criticized for not closing beaches sooner last month.
People are supposed to continue to practice social distancing in the recreation areas, most of which will only be accessible between 6 a.m. and 11 a.m. and 5 p.m. and 8 p.m. each day, and gatherings of more than 50 people are banned. Chairs, coolers, sunbathing, towels, and blankets are not allowed, as exercise — not lounging — is meant to serve as the primary reason for people to head to the beach. "This is not a time to lounge," said Atlantic Beach Mayor Ellen Glasser. "This is not a time to party. This is a time where you need to exercise, keep moving, and then go home."
But that reportedly wasn't the case everywhere Friday; people, many without masks, were reportedly seen lounging on a crowded Jacksonville Beach. Officials have said they aren't afraid to close beaches again if people don't abide by the restrictions. Read more at CNN and CNBC.