Jacksonville Mayor Lenny Curry is looking to ramp up the reopening of his city
Ahead of discussing code reprieves for outdoor dining and relaxation of “work from home” mandates, the Mayor described “restless” people chafing after two months of restrictions.
And, he added, he is appealing to the Governor for reprieve, permission to enter Phase 2 reopening “in the near term.”
“I’m ready to go next week,” Curry said.
Phase 2 would permit gatherings of up to 50 people. It would also allow for increased restaurant capacity, as well as the reopening of gyms, schools, and bars.
Curry noted a conversation earlier with Gov. Ron DeSantis, in which the Mayor buttonholed the Governor to move forward, allowing Jacksonville (and presumably other areas) to move forward.
“I spoke to him this morning personally,” said Curry. The Governor was “glad to hear” that Jacksonville was “ready for Phase 2.”
“He’s as anxious as anyone to get these things open,” Curry said.
The push is coming despite an increase in positive tests over the weekend, which the Mayor attributed to increased testing in long-term care facilities.
The Mayor also discussed continued relaxation of zoning requirements for outdoor dining Tuesday.
Curry, addressing Jacksonville media, had previously said code enforcement would be suspended for outdoor dining starting Monday, with changes in code forthcoming in emergency legislation that the Mayor expects to be passed by the City Council Tuesday evening.
Those code changes are intended to create more outdoor dining space, including in parking lots, by “suspending enforcement of the zoning code.”
Zoning codes are not the only thing on the back burner. The Mayor noted that this is the last week for the work for home order in the city, as well as for any other executive orders related to this emergency.
City workers will be back on the job also.
The Mayor, mindful of a wrecked economy and a long three years ahead, seemed ready to emerge from the recent dystopian nightmare.
“Don’t expect in the short term to see arenas packed,” Curry said regarding relaxing restrictions, “but we’re making progress.”