On Tuesday, Jacksonville Mayor Lenny Curry addressed local media en masse for the first time since the Republican National Convention was cancelled last week.
The Mayor rebooted remarks about the “difficult decision” made by the President, saying that “canceling was the right thing to do,” despite Jacksonville losing a potential economic boost from the event.
“It had to be canceled for health reasons and health concerns,” Curry said.
However, questions went deeper than that, with many reporters waiting the better part of a week for the Mayor to discuss what happens now.
One reporter wanted details on how soft costs, such as time city workers spent planning the RNC, would be reimbursed.
“There were no taxpayer dollars expended on the planning of the Republican National Convention,” Curry said, adding that the City Council auditor was looking at how to quantify the time senior staffers spent planning.
The Mayor noted the host committee raised “millions of dollars,” a number that has a wide range. He also said the event not happening does not reflect on Jacksonville’s ability to host a convention.
Ironically, given that COVID-19 was the purported reason President Donald Trump pulled the plug on the event in Jacksonville, the city’s daily positive rate on tests processed Monday was the lowest in weeks: 7.2%, with just 133 positives total.
“Given the current trends, it was the right decision,” Curry said, adding that he “probably would have made a decision” at some point even with “declining numbers.”
“Hospitalizations remain stable,” Curry said, and the declining daily numbers leave Curry and health executives optimistic.
“While it appears that hospitalizations have stabilized … we cannot grow complacent,” Curry said.
“All but one have ICU capacity,” the Mayor added, urging testing for those who need it at one of six city-sponsored test sites.
Curry said while turnaround is a concern, 60% of those testing at city sites get results in two days.
The Mayor, noting the “once in a lifetime situation of the pandemic,” reminded people who may have ignored storm prep to get ready as a tropical storm tracks toward Florida this weekend.