Mayor Lenny Curry announces Friday reopening of Duval beaches, parks

Lenny Curry pensive
Some conditions apply.

Duval County has begun to ease coronavirus restrictions, announcing that starting Friday, beaches and parks would reopen.

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

The timetable is more ambitious than teased earlier Thursday when Curry said reopening of beaches and parks was being considered potentially as soon as next week.

Some conditions apply.

Users must be “participating in recreational activities consistent with social distancing guidelines such as walking, biking, hiking, fishing, running, swimming, taking care of pets and surfing.”

Sunbathing, boozing and other elements of beach blanket bacchanalia are strictly forbidden.

As well, beaches will be open only from 6 a.m. to 11 a.m. each morning and from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m. each evening.

Parks will have regular hours, but with particular caveats, including no overnight camping at Huguenot or Hanna, no organized activities or big groups, and an adherence to social distancing.

Bathrooms, meanwhile, will be closed.

The Mayor’s comments continue a trend of Northeast Florida leaders looking to get past the coronavirus and into recovery.

Earlier this week, commissioners in St. Johns County, directly to the south of Duval County, heard evidence that perhaps the worst of the coronavirus is over for them.

County Administrator Hunter S. Conrad said there was a “downward trend” in new cases.

“That is good news seeing those numbers begin to flatline,” Conrad said, adding that “further decisions” could be made at the “discretion” of the commission next week, presumably to reopen the county’s beaches.

St. Johns County was nine days after Duval in closing beaches last month, and one suspects that their reopening could be without the conditions imposed up north.

A.G. Gancarski

A.G. Gancarski has written for since 2014. He is based in Northeast Florida. He can be reached at [email protected] or on Twitter: @AGGancarski


  • Marlene

    April 16, 2020 at 5:02 pm

    Such bad, bad decisions.

  • Frankie M.

    April 16, 2020 at 5:12 pm

    Glad to see Lenny taking his time in doing his due diligence. Took all of 3 or 4 hours. Surf’s up!

  • Eric

    April 16, 2020 at 7:20 pm

    He has no choice. When you’re “Klan”, you have to follow the directives

  • Frankie M.

    April 16, 2020 at 10:16 pm

    My best guess is that Lenny folded under pressure from Ronnie & the powers that be in the SJC. Clearly the snowbirds in Ponte Vedra didn’t care for closing the beach a few weeks ago. Lenny didn’t want to see them reopen only to have Micklers packed and Jax Beach looking like the DMZ. This way we can spread the boomers out.

  • Jenn

    April 17, 2020 at 11:44 am

    Using bacchannalia in an article makes you my most favorite writer ever! Cheers 🏖🍻

Comments are closed.


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