JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — Mayor Lenny Curry spoke Thursday regarding what Jacksonville is doing to make sure 'Phase 1' of the reopening process goes smoothly and how people can apply for $1,000 in city-issued financial assistance.
The press conference comes one day after Governor DeSantis explained that Florida's economy will enter a phased reopening starting Monday which includes reopening restaurants, and retail businesses with strict guidelines.
Curry says that Jacksonville will follow a similar approach to the plan outlined by DeSantis, using the guide an informal roadmap to reopen Jacksonville.
The plan includes a relaxed approach to dining operations with restaurants being able to offer outdoor seating with six-foot space between tables and indoor seating at 25% capacity starting Monday. Retail stores will also be able to operate at 25% of indoor capacity.
He says vulnerable individuals should avoid close contact with people outside the home and all individuals should maximize physical distance from others
When asked about elective surgeries, Curry said those are also able to resume although the city never had an order on them, only the state.
Curry says the work-from-home order remains in effect and there are still restrictions on bars, nightclubs and gyms.
The mayor also spoke about reopening hotels and lodging facilities. Curry said starting Monday, people can begin making reservations as normal. This, however, does not include short term rental facilities such as AirBnbs.
The new extended hours at beaches also begin Monday.
"We have a long road to recovery in Jacksonville and our country... my team and I will continue to monitor and make data-driven decisions to reopen our city.," said Curry. "If there is an opportunity to tailor some of these (reopening mandates) to our city we will explore the opportunity to do so."
Curry also detailed a continued focus on testing with more than two dozen testing sites across the city with more to come. He says the newest one will open Friday at 13490 Beach Boulevard in the Walmart parking lot. Those wishing to get tested there should go to www.myquestcovidtest.com to make a mandatory appointment.
- Curry said malls can reopen in accordance with 25% occupancy
- Jacksonville City Council meetings continue to be on Zoom
- Curry says restaurants will largely be in charge of enforcing their own social distancing and occupancy regulations
- Curry tells Jacksonville apartment complexes and HOAs they can open their pools as long as people stay socially distanced
- Beaches open Monday 6 a.m. to 8 p.m. with current restrictions (only for recreational activities)
During the press conference, Curry also gave details regarding how people can apply for the 'Jacksonville COVID-19 Relief Program' which will provide $1,000 in assistance directly to 40,000 Jacksonville residents.
In order to apply for the money, people should visit http://jaxrelief.coj.net starting Friday at 10 a.m to schedule appointments. Those without internet can call 630-CITY starting at the same time but may experience longer wait times.
You must certify that you are:
- A Duval County resident
- Made under $75k in household income
- Lost 25% of income due to COVID-19
- Were employed on February 29
Curry says the system will no longer take appointments after 40,000 appointments are scheduled on the website on a first-come, first-served basis.
If you are granted an appointment, you are asked to bring a blue pen, a driver's license or state ID, documents showing you were employed on 2/29 and your social security number along with you.
Those who qualify will get a confirmation number and an appointment time. If you don't have an appointment you cannot just show up or you will be turned away.
Preloaded cards with the money will then be distributed at the Ed Ball Building and Main Library downtown.
Although city officials say the site has been tested repeatedly for load capacity and glitches, Curry is asking the public to be patient with the new system.
The Jacksonville COVID-19 Relief Program also includes $26 million that's going towards small business relief and $25 million that will be set aside to help with expected declines in city revenues.
"Jacksonville is headed in the right direction on the curve... and we will continue to reevaluate," Curry said.