Crowds continue to pour onto Florida beaches after reopening

Crowds of locals continue to flood beaches in Jacksonville, Florida after the shores reopened to the public Friday after being shutdown due to the cornavirus pandemic. 

Jacksonville beaches opened at 5pm on Friday during limited hours and with restrictions, even as Florida recorded its highest single-day increase in confirmed coronavirus cases.

And the crowds came out for an overcast day Saturday and were seen enthusiastically biking, surfing, fishing and walking dogs as the state recorded 26,270 cases of the virus and 741 deaths. 

Jacksonville Beach is open after Mayor Lenny Curry decided to make it one of Florida’s first beaches to reopen during the coronavirus pandemic

Crowds came out for an overcast day Saturday and were seen enthusiastically biking, surfing, fishing and walking dogs

Crowds came out for an overcast day Saturday and were seen enthusiastically biking, surfing, fishing and walking dogs

The state of Florida recorded 26,270 cases of the virus and 741 deaths as they tolls continue to rise nationally

The state of Florida recorded 26,270 cases of the virus and 741 deaths as they tolls continue to rise nationally 

Jacksonville beaches opened at 5pm on Friday during limited hours and with restrictions, even as Florida recorded its highest single-day increase in confirmed coronavirus cases

Jacksonville beaches opened at 5pm on Friday during limited hours and with restrictions, even as Florida recorded its highest single-day increase in confirmed coronavirus cases

Thousands of Jacksonville residents poured onto the beaches on Friday as they reopened for the first time in weeks, but Saturday seemed to quiet down as the day was overcast

Thousands of Jacksonville residents poured onto the beaches on Friday as they reopened for the first time in weeks, but Saturday seemed to quiet down as the day was overcast 

Jacksonville Mayor Lenny Curry decided to make it one of Florida’s first beaches to reopen during the coronavirus pandemic.  

Jacksonville’s beaches will be open daily from 6am to 11am and 5pm to 8pm for exercise such as walking and swimming only. Banned are sunbathing, chairs, towels, or loitering on the shore, and beachgoers are required to remain six feet apart. 

‘If for some reason it turns to helter skelter, we’re going to pull the plug again,’ Mayor Lenny Curry warned on Friday.  

Curry said he is letting the public back onto Duval County beaches because he is ‘encouraged’ by the rate of infections and hospitalizations and said there is evidence they are flattening the curve.

‘This can be the beginning of the pathway back to normal life,’ he said on Thursday. ‘Please respect and follow these limitations. Stay within the guidelines for your safety as well as for the safety of your neighbors.’  

People were see fishing Friday in Jacksonville, Florida, as temperatures reached 80 degrees

People were see fishing Friday in Jacksonville, Florida, as temperatures reached 80 degrees 

Jacksonville's beaches will be open daily from 6am to 11am and 5pm to 8pm for exercise such as walking and swimming only. Thousands of people dashed to the beach within 26 minutes of it opening

Jacksonville’s beaches will be open daily from 6am to 11am and 5pm to 8pm for exercise such as walking and swimming only. Thousands of people dashed to the beach within 26 minutes of it opening

'If for some reason it turns to helter skelter, we're going to pull the plug again,' Mayor Lenny Curry warned

‘If for some reason it turns to helter skelter, we’re going to pull the plug again,’ Mayor Lenny Curry warned

People are seen at the beach on Friday in Jacksonville Beach, Florida. The beaches reopened but only for restricted hours and can only be used for swimming, running, surfing, walking, biking, fishing, and taking care of pets

People are seen at the beach on Friday in Jacksonville Beach, Florida. The beaches reopened but only for restricted hours and can only be used for swimming, running, surfing, walking, biking, fishing, and taking care of pets

A person caries a sign at the beach on Friday in Jacksonville Beach, Florida. Jacksonville Mayor Lenny Curry announced Thursday that Duval County's beaches would open at 5pm Friday

A person caries a sign at the beach on Friday in Jacksonville Beach, Florida. Jacksonville Mayor Lenny Curry announced Thursday that Duval County’s beaches would open at 5pm Friday

Enthusiastic residents cheered as they ran out onto the sand in Jacksonville after weeks of closures

Enthusiastic residents cheered as they ran out onto the sand in Jacksonville after weeks of closures

Over the past 14 days, the number of positive coronavirus cases in Florida has risen to 24,759. Its highest daily increase in positive cases was on Friday, with 1,421

Over the past 14 days, the number of deaths in Florida have risen to 725. On Friday, the daily death toll increased by 57 cases

Over the past 14 days, the number of deaths in Florida have risen to 725. On Friday, the daily death toll increased by 57 cases

Jacksonville beach rules under reopening

What is allowed:

Beaches are only open from 6am to 11am and 5pm to 8pm Walking and runningBikingFishingDog walkingSwimmingSurfing 

What is prohibited:

SunbathingTowels and blanketsChairs, coolers or grillsLoitering on the beach Groups larger than 10 peopleOrganized sports or picnicsOvernight campingBathrooms remain closed 

Florida Department of Health said confirmed cases in the state rose by 1,421 Friday, the highest one-day number yet. The total number of cases in Florida is now 24,753. The number of deaths has reached 726, an increase of 58 in the last 24 hours. 

By 8pm on Friday night, many had already left the beach – adhering to the curfew.  

On Thursday, Trump laid out his three-phase plan for re-opening states one by one if they show falling case numbers. However, the guidelines did not specifically address how to handle outdoor spaces such as parks and beaches. 

Florida officials, including Governor Ron De Santis, were criticized early on in the pandemic for not closing the beaches during spring break. Shocking photos from March show huge crowds frolicking on the sand and ignoring social distancing advice. 

Mayor Curry’s move means residents can go for a walk, swim, surf, run or fish, as long as they adhering to social distancing guidelines. However, sunbathing, camping overnight and gatherings of more than 10 people will be banned. People have also been warned to enter the water at their own risk as lifeguards will not be on duty. 

Jacksonville is one of the first major metropolitan areas to open their beaches. Santa Cruz in California also lifted restrictions to allow surfing for the first time since a lockdown was implemented.  

People walk a dog at the beach on Friday in Jacksonville Beach, Florida after the shore reopened for exercise

People walk a dog at the beach on Friday in Jacksonville Beach, Florida after the shore reopened for exercise

Jacksonville beaches can only be used for swimming, running, surfing, walking, biking, fishing, and taking care of pets

Jacksonville beaches can only be used for swimming, running, surfing, walking, biking, fishing, and taking care of pets

A woman takes a photo with her phone as Jacksonville residents were allowed back onto the beaches on Friday

A woman takes a photo with her phone as Jacksonville residents were allowed back onto the beaches on Friday

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