JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — Shortly after Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis issued stay-at-home orders for four South Florida counties due to the growing number of positive coronavirus cases in those areas, Jacksonville Mayor Lenny Curry announced Monday that he asked his team to look into those orders to see "if it would be good for Jacksonville."
Curry said there are no shelter in place orders for Jacksonville currently, "but I asked my team to look at that order ... to see if there's relevant action there ... if it would be good for Jacksonville."
The order was applied to Broward, Miami-Dade, Palm Beach and Monroe counties through the middle of May.
"The 'Safer-At-Home' [order] is the right move for southeast Florida," DeSantis said. "This is the time to do the right thing. Listen to all of your local officials."
Curry also said he signed an executive order that will prohibit all hotels, motels and other commercial lodgings from accepting or extending reservations for those who are not considered as "essential lodgers." This order will be in effect 5 p.m. Tuesday.
The following are defined as essential lodgers:
- Healthcare professionals
- First responders
- National Guard members
- Law enforcement
- State or federal government employees
- Airline crewmembers
- Patients’ families
- Others responding to COVID-19
- Displaced residents or visitors
- Persons unable to return to their home due to COVID-19 impacts on travel
- Persons who must vacate their home due to exigent circumstances, such as fire or flood
- Persons utilizing hotels as transitional living arrangements
- Persons sheltering in hotels due to domestic violence
- Hotel employees, service providers, and contractors, or
- Individuals who, for any reason, are temporarily unable to reside in their home
The mayor also acknowledged that 500 rapid tests, which determine if a patient has the coronavirus in 45 minutes, will be coming to Jacksonville.
When it comes to the public's safety, Curry is still stressing social distancing, which includes staying six feet apart from one another, staying at home, and only interact with groups with fewer than 10 people.
"I saw people this weekend shaking hands with each other. I understand it's a habit but we have to stop folks," he said. "We really have to stop this. We do our jobs, it will stop the spread and we will come out of this, come out of this together."
He stressed that while those 65 and older, as well as anyone with underlying health conditions, are most at risk, he said COVID-19 can impact anybody.
"Anyone can end up on a respirator and an intensive care unit," he said. "Many people who carry the virus have no symptoms and can pass it ... that is why social distancing is incredibly important."
He added that he is still in communication with local-area hospitals and that "capacity is not an issue at this point ... don't want it to be an issue, but we want to plan ahead." He reminded the public of the field hospital at the Prime Osborn Convention Center, as well as local hospitals having plans to create additional space if needed.
"I am optimistic that we will come out of this ... get back to what normal looks like," he said.