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'We took some flack ... we can't stay in our homes indefinitely:' Jacksonville mayor on opening beaches

I'm not going to make decisions based off of what I think... I will make decisions based on the science and doctors." - Mayor Lenny Curry

A new COVID-19 testing site is in the works for Jacksonville, Mayor Lenny Curry announced during a news conference on Monday.

Curry said this new testing site will be located on the Northside within the next week and that more details will follow. 

"[It is] important that people of all backgrounds and all parts of town [get testing," Curry said.

As of Monday afternoon, Jacksonville had 863 positive confirmed cases of COVID-19, which included 75 hospitalizations and 15 deaths. He added that Jacksonville is seeing 5 percent of positive test results, a percentage Curry said is smaller than most metropolitan areas in the state.

As a result, Curry announced last Thursday that he would partially reopen Duval County beaches with limited hours and requirements, such as hours being limited from 6 a.m. to 11 a.m. and 5 p.m. to 8 p.m. daily. He also said activities consistent with social distancing guidelines would only be allowed, such as walking, biking, hiking, fishing, running, swimming, taking care of pets and surfing.

"No sunbathing, towels, chairs, grills," Curry said Monday.

The partial reopening of the beaches gained national attention and Jacksonville "took some flack" for it, Curry said.

"We got out early in terms of closures and we took some flack," Curry said. "Here's my commitment to the people of Jacksonville... I'm not going to make decisions based off of what I think... I will make decisions based on the science and doctors."

"The virus is here. We flattened it here. But we can't stay in our homes indefinitely," he added. "That's not an option... What I need people to do is people take social distancing seriously."

RELATED: Live Look: Here’s what Jacksonville Beach looks like right now

RELATED: Here's what Jacksonville Beach looked like during partial 'reopening' Friday

Jacksonville made national headlines Friday for the partial reopening of beaches. Unfortunately, many of those reports carried old photos and videos of crowded beaches causing many in the U.S. to ask, 'what's going on down there?' Here's drone video of what Jacksonville Beach looked like Friday evening.

RELATED: Jacksonville beaches, parks reopen Friday

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