JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — Jacksonville Mayor Lenny Curry issued a Safer at Home order and instructed all nonessential businesses in Duval County to close Friday.
“It's up to us as a community to act responsibly and to take care of each other," he said Wednesday morning in a virtual press conference. "There’s a million people in this city. We don’t have a million police officers. And we don’t want to deploy those resources and stretch them because people simply won’t socially distance. So we’ve got to take this seriously.”
His move brings the county in line with several others in Florida, including Broward, Monroe, Palm Beach and Miami Dade, and 42 states that have shut down nonessential businesses to slow the spread of the deadly coronavirus pandemic.
But it comes ahead of any direct order from the state.
Gov. Ron DeSantis has been facing growing pressure to close nonessential businesses or issue a statewide stay at home order. That pressure grew lasts weekend, as images of beachgoers flooding northern St. Johns County beaches made national news.
Curry has hinted for days that he might further restrict activities in Duval County and shown increasing frustration with people’s refusal to exhibit social distancing and take the virus seriously.
“We’ve got to stop this folks, we really have to stop this,” he said Monday, saying he’d seen people over the weekend still shaking hands. “This virus is real, and it spreads person to person -- it doesn’t spread itself.”
“If we do our jobs and we stop the spread, we’ll come out of this, and we’ll come out of this together.”
As of Friday, Curry was reluctant to issue a stay at home order. In response to a reporter’s question at a press conference then, he said. “Where we’ve seen these orders in other states, even in other countries, some of the behaviors are detrimental or the opposite of what the stay-at-home order is intended to do,” Curry said. “You see people in New York, you saw people go on airplanes and leaving.”
Curry has issued four executive orders ahead of any mandate from the state, including telling business to allow workers to work from home and closing hotels, motels and short term rentals to vacationers.
On Tuesday, in response to questions from Jacksonville City Councilmembers about large gathering and parties, he urged people call police if they see those occurring. “If you see behavior that is a large crowd or persons not responding to or practicing social distancing, you can call JSO and they’ll break it up,” he said. He added those reports should be made should not to 911 emergency dispatchers, but to 630-0500.
Curry also released a list of businesses reported for alleged noncompliance with social distancing rules, that the city is or has investigated.
The mayor did not issue a list of "nonessential businesses," but did say that nail salons counted as nonessential. Below is a list of essential businesses.
Essential retail and commercial businesses that may remain open are:
- Grocery stores, farmers' markets, farm and produce stands, supermarkets, food banks, convenience stores, and other establishments engaged in the retail sale of canned food, dry goods, fresh fruits and vegetables, pet supply, fresh meats, fish, and poultry, and any other household consumer products (such as cleaning and personal care products). This authorization includes stores that sell groceries and also sell other non-grocery products, and products necessary to maintaining the safety, sanitation, and essential operations of residences;
- Food cultivation, including farming, livestock, and fishing;
- Businesses that provide food, shelter, social services, and other necessities of life for economically disadvantaged or otherwise needy individuals;
- Newspapers, television, radio, and other media services;
- Banks and related financial institutions;
- Hardware stores;
- Contractors and other tradesmen, appliance repair personnel, exterminators, and other service providers who provide services that are necessary to maintaining the safety, sanitation, and essential operation of residences and other structures;
- Businesses providing mailing and shipping services, including post office boxes;
- Laundromats, dry cleaners, and laundry service providers;
- Restaurants and other facilities that prepare and serve food, but subject to the limitations and requirements of Emergency Order 2020-1. Schools and other entities that typically provide free food services to students or members of the public may continue to do so on the condition that the food is provided to students or members of the public on a pick-up and takeaway basis only. Schools and other entities that provide food services under this exemption shall not permit the food to be eaten at the site where it is provided, or at any other gathering site;
- Businesses that supply office products needed for people to work from home;
- Businesses that supply other essential businesses with the support or supplies necessary to operate, and which do not interact with the general public;
- Businesses that ship or deliver groceries, food, goods, or services directly to residences;
- Airlines, taxis, and other private transportation providers providing transportation services via automobile, truck, bus, or train;
- Home-based care for seniors, adults, or children;
- Assisted living facilities, nursing homes, and adult day care centers, and senior residential facilities;
- Professional services, such as legal or accounting services, when necessary to assist with compliance with legally mandated activities;
- Landscape and pool care businesses , including residential landscape and pool care services;
Children and child care providers shall not change from one group to another.
If more than one group of children is cared for at one facility, each group shall be in a separate room. Groups shall not mix or interact with each other.
- Businesses operating at any airport, seaport, or other government facility, including parks and government offices;
- Pet supply stores;
- Logistics providers; including warehouses; trucking, consolidators, fumigators, and handlers;
- Telecommunications providers, including sales of computer or telecommunications devices and the provision of home telecommunications;
- Provision of propane or natural gas;
- Office space and administrative support necessary to perform any of the above-listed activities;
- Open construction sites, irrespective of the type of building;
- Architectural, engineering, or land surveying services;
- Factories, manufacturing facilities, bottling plants, or other industrial uses;
- Waste management services, including collection and disposal of waste;
- Any business that is interacting with customers solely through electronic or telephonic means, and delivering products via mailing, shipping, or delivery services;
- Private and municipal marinas and boat launches, docking, fueling, marine supply and other marina services, and other private outdoor recreational activities that comply with the spacing, maximum capacity and other requirements of federal, state and local executive orders and proclamations;
- Hotels, motels, other commercial lodging establishments and temporary vacation rentals, subject to the requirements of Executive Order 2020-4;
- Veterinarians and pet boarding facilities;
- Mortuaries, funeral homes, and cemeteries;
- The sale of alcoholic beverages is authorized consistent with Executive Order 2020-1;
- Firearm and ammunition supply stores; and
- Businesses providing services to any local, state, or federal government, including municipalities, pursuant to a contract with such government.