Jacksonville Mayor Lenny Curry has for weeks attempted to make the case that Jacksonville was ready for a Phase Two reopening.
“I’d like to see bars reopen,” he said last week.
Friday, that will finally be the case, with bars, tattoo parlors, tanning spots, massage spas, and other long-shuttered sectors finally allowed to do business again, via the Governor’s plan to reopen the state.
And, continuing the push toward normalcy, Curry said that July 4th fireworks, once in doubt, are on.
The event will be “bigger, better, and safer,” with displays downtown and throughout the city.
“Fireworks only … spaced out throughout the city,” Curry said, so social distancing can happen, a condition not possible in previous years of the Downtown-only event.
The additional locations are to be determined, with “great vantage points” and “proper social distancing,” the Mayor added.
That move puts the city at odds with Jacksonville Beach, which WJXT reports that the local government decided to eschew a fireworks display for Independence Day.
The show across the ditch will move to New Year’s Eve, with concerns about COVID-19 and “civil unrest” driving the reschedule.
For frustrated entrepreneurs, many of whom just had to wait out a protracted economic shutdown, the relaxed restrictions may offer the economic lifeline they need to stay in the game.
In Phase Two, groups of up to 50 are permitted, albeit with social distancing still in play.
Phase Two would also allow increased restaurant capacity with unlimited outdoor seating and bar top seating, as well as the reopening of gyms, schools, arcades, and bars with social distancing and reduced occupancy.
Retail stores can open in full, Curry said.
“This will help get us back on our feet,” Curry said, urging people to “move forward responsibly,” including social distancing.