Jacksonville to ease up on outdoor dining restrictions
Stock image via Adobe

People are eating on vacation. They eat outside the house and clink beer house.
Code enforcement will be suspended for outdoor dining starting Monday.

Jacksonville continues to emerge from the COVID-19 cocoon, resuming normal economic activity bit by bit.

The latest reinstated personal liberty came Thursday when Mayor Lenny Curry removed restrictions on outdoor dining.

The goal is to allow restaurants to expand service in a safe environment, possible since the city has “flattened the curve.”

Curry said code enforcement would be suspended for outdoor dining starting Monday, with changes in code forthcoming in a collaboration between Curry’s team and City Councilman Danny Becton.

The Mayor urged people to wear masks and avoid large group gatherings.

“Be safe, be cautious,” he said.

As has been the case throughout the coronavirus response, Curry and Jacksonville have taken their cues from the Governor, who in turn has been vocal in backing up decisions to slowly ramp up commerce and activity.

Gov. Ron DeSantis, in his many press conferences about the coronavirus crisis, has suggested that transmission is most likely in closed buildings.

The Governor has also suggested that restaurants will move closer to normalcy as the state moves into Phase 2 of reopening.

DeSantis said last weekend there aren’t the same limitations on outdoor dining as inside, with restaurants permitted to expand table setups to permit social distancing.

Beyond restaurants, other popular pastimes are returning to normal, slowly, in Jacksonville.

The Jacksonville Zoo and Gardens will reopen to the public starting Mother’s Day weekend.

And beaches are open without activity or time restrictions now, with the only caveat continuing to be social distancing.

While Jacksonville has been criticized for opening beaches, rates of new infections continue to decline in Duval County, suggesting the worst of the health crisis may have abated, at least for now.

Testing continues, Curry said, with the Lot J site offering antibody testing “soon,” allowing people to see if they had the virus.

“Right now, it’s reserved for first responders and health care workers,” Curry said.

A.G. Gancarski

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


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