Jacksonville Mayor Lenny Curry said he is ready to enforce an executive order that went into effect Tuesday requiring businesses to allow any employees who are able to perform their job at home to do so. 

Any employees who cannot perform their job at home must stay 6 feet away from anyone at any time. Curry said the city could condemn buildings and shut off utilities of any businesses who do not comply with the order, which he said is necessary to help slow the spread of the coronavirus and avoid overwhelming hospitals with patients. 

“Employers and employees, work together to make this executive order work. Sit down and figure this out,” Curry said. “I’m very serious about this. I’ll use every function of my office to enforce this order if I have to.”

Jacksonville residents have spent nearly a week under some form of social distancing requirements. Curry said 1,100 people have been tested at the two government-sponsored drive-thru locations in Jacksonville. He said the most important metric he is tracking is hospital admissions for suspected cases of COVID-19, although local hospitals are in “good shape” and not near capacity.

“The goal of all of this testing, social distancing and executive orders is to reduce the spread, flatten the curve and lessen the impact of this pandemic on our healthcare system,” Curry said.

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Curry said workers will begin building a field hospital at the Prime Osborne Convention Center on Tuesday, although the facility will only open in the event of local hospitals running out of room for critical care patients.

Sheriff Mike Williams also spoke during the virtual press conference. He said overall crime numbers and calls for service are up about 4 percent compared to this time last year.

Click here to read the Florida Times-Union story.

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