Jacksonville Mayor Lenny Curry is trying to quell complaints on the executive order he enacted this week in hopes of limiting the spread of the coronavirus that called on employers to let workers stay at home if they are not essential to operations.
“The order states that if an employee can work from home and can perform their job, their job duties from home, the employer should allow them to do that,” Curry said during a Wednesday morning news conference delivered via live stream.
Curry said many workers have called City Hall complaining that their bosses are not letting them work from home. Curry said just because someone calls the city with a complaint doesn’t mean it’s legitimate.
For instance, Curry said, if someone’s job is packing products in boxes, that means the worker has to work on site.
Curry also acknowledged his executive order signed Monday night is not absolute and is, practically speaking, difficult to enforce, if it can be enforced at all.
“I ask … employers and employees to be reasonable with each other,” Curry said in an overture to Jacksonville’s workforce during the coronavirus outbreak. “Come to an agreement and figure out that if they can do their work from home, let them. If they can’t, when they’re in the workplace, remain 6 feet apart.
“I want everyone to take a deep breath, work together to make this happen so we don’t spread this disease and we take care of each other. I want you to remember this virus doesn’t spread, we spread the virus.”
The Jacksonville measures come as Duval County hit 56 confirmed cases of coronavirus as of Wednesday morning, according to Florida Department of Health data. That figure is up by six compared to Tuesday. Three of those resulted in death and 13 have been hospitalized
Of those testing positive, 25 are men and 27 are women. Duval County residents account for 52 of those positive tests while four are nonresidents but still live in Florida.
A total of 749 people have been tested for COVID-19 in Duval County and 619 have returned negative with 74 still pending.
Curry added the federal field hospital designed to handle 250 intensive care unit patients will be erected at the Prime Osborn Convention Center in the western area of downtown Jacksonville. He reiterated Wednesday that the field hospital is a precaution at the time and local hospitals are nowhere near capacity that would trigger the need to use the ad hoc medical facility.
Curry and other city officials declined to provide numbers on what Jacksonville’s capacity would be for its multiple hospitals. Jacksonville Fire and Rescue Chief Keith Powers said the city doesn’t release that information.
“Some hospitals have greater capacity than others,” Powers said.
Curry said he is unaware of any city employees who have tested positive for the virus. Jacksonville Fire and Rescue reported 28 employees are under self-quarantine, but none have tested positive. The Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office has 25 employees who are in self quarantine, none have tested positive for COVID-19.
There are now 1,682 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Florida as of Thursday morning, according to the state’s Department of Health. The data shows 22 people have died in Florida from the virus.
There are at least 61,167 cases of coronavirus reported across the United States, as of 3 p.m. Wednesday, and 849 of those have resulted in fatalities. Worldwide, there are 454,398 cases with 20,550 deaths attributed to the virus around the planet.