Jacksonville Mayor Lenny Curry scored a win yesterday when Gov. Ron DeSantis approved Duval County’s vacation rental plan.
For Curry, a second-term Republican, the move was sought for a long time, since it became clear the COVID-19 curve would flatten, as it has in the last few weeks.
The Mayor noted that vacation rentals must adhere to safety guidelines, and would help “stabilize the economy” as it recovers from the coronacrash.
Weeks back, a city Twitter account had trumpeted, prematurely, the reopening of the sector starting May 4.
That day came and went without action, to the chagrin of some administration members.
It took until May 20 for Duval to get approved, in the second wave of counties that submitted plans for reopening the sector after DeSantis gave the green light.
“If you tell me you’re going to rent them out to people from New York City, I’m probably not going to approve that, OK?” DeSantis said in Jacksonville last week. “If you’re saying that, you know, you’re going to rent it out to people in other parts of Florida or something that would be manageable or if there’re ways in there that clearly you have an eye to safety, then I’m fine.”
Vacation rentals were part of a larger theme, with money on Curry’s mind.
The Mayor presented a narrative of economic buoyancy, including providing stimulus payments to those whose livelihoods were wrecked by shutdowns. The city has distributed $40 million in $1,000 debit cards to people who make below $75,000 a year and lost 20% of their income due to coronavirus impacts.
However, despite the return of vacation rentals, caution is to be heeded, including the wearing of masks in public spaces.
“We cannot afford to quarantine indefinitely. It’s unsustainable,” Curry said, saying “we have to find a way to move forward.”
Part of that moving forward includes three new testing sites at CVS pharmacies, opening Friday. Another part includes camping at local parks, by reservation with the city.
Despite the call to move forward, an in-person Memorial Day observance won’t be possible this year, Curry said, with a “virtual” event planned Monday.
Youth sports, though “not currently allowed,” are something Curry says his team is “working with” the Governor, to get these activities going “soon.”