Jacksonville Mayor Lenny Curry and emergency management team leaders addressed the media Tuesday afternoon to announce a list of civic leaders and necessary milestones to safely reopen the city.
This follows the White House's recommended three-phase outline released last week for state governors to use as a baseline for recovering economically from the coronavirus pandemic.
During the press conference, Curry noted Dr. Deborah Birx's mention of Jacksonville during a White House briefing, using our city as an example of one flattening the curve.
However, he says there is still more work to be done before the city can resume normal operations. Curry says cities Jacksonville must meet the following criteria:
- Show a downward trajectory of COVID-19 cases or positive tests over 14 days
- Downward trajectory in reports of influenza-like symptoms for 14 days.
- Hospitals must be able to treat all patients without emergency accommodations
- The city must put in place at-risk testing including antibody testing
Overall, Curry confirms that positive test results in Jacksonville have been on the decline but more data is still needed.
"The virus is decreasing, we can begin looking at responsible and incremental ways to get back to work," said Curry.
For now, Jacksonville remains under both a local and state 'safer-at home' order and that reopening will be a phased approach in collab with Governor Desantis
"As we work to get city and country back to work we must do so safely," he said. "Jacksonville on the right track and will continue to move forward."
Curry also announced a list of civic leaders that the city is currently consulting with to help return to normalcy. Some of those individuals include:
- Daniel Davis, Jax Chamber President and CEO
- Melissa Dykes, JEA Interim CEO
- Nat ford, CEO JTA
- Dr. Dianna Green, Duval Schools Superintendent
- Eric Green, CEO Jax Port
- Steve Halverson, Chairman Haskell Company
- Dr. Leon Haley CEO UF health
- Dr. Matt Rill, Founder/CEOTelescope Health
- Darnell Smith, Florida Blue Market President
- Kent Sturman, COO Total Military Management
- Mark VanLoh, CEO JAA
- Jenny Vipperman Chief Lending Officer VyStar
Curry says he will be consulting with these people, as well as other medical professionals on a daily basis regarding the reopening of local businesses.
"I understand the frustration and anxiety of business owners...," Curry said, referencing numerous emails and social media messages he has received. "I ask the people of Jacksonville, keep doing what you're doing."
When asked about his reaction to Georgia's unexpected announcement Monday regarding the reopening of many businesses including salons, restaurants and other businesses, Curry said he can't speak for another state and that Florida would be reopening in the safest way possible. He didn't get date specific but did say these reopening conversations are happening
"We literally examine this stuff every day, every evening, we are well-positioned to begin some sort of opening," Curry said. "But here's what we won't do. We won't spring an opening on people the day before."
He continued, saying people need to be thinking about social distancing when they reopen and not about opening up shop as quickly as possible.
After a weekend that included a flood of negative press, Curry said he wouldn't be governed by outside critics after his decision to open the beaches.
He said that each region must make decisions based on local realities.