During a news conference Tuesday afternoon, Jacksonville city leaders confirmed six positive cases of coronavirus, or COVID-19, in Duval County.
Jacksonville Mayor Lenny Curry led the news conference, adding that the city has plans to have at least two additional testing sites for Duval County residents, including one at TIAA Bank Field. He said the goal is to get these testing sites ready by the end of the week and Duval residents have to make an appointment prior.
Currently, St. Vincent's hospital in Jacksonville has launched a drive-through testing site, which opened Tuesday at 8 a.m. Those who wish to be tested must first be pre-screened by a primary care physician.
"We are in very serious times," Curry said. "Our country has experienced many significant times during our history from the Great Depression... World War II... 9/11... Our kids and grandkids will look back at this time and judge us as leaders and how we acted in this moment of time."
Curry also stressed social distancing of up to six feet just hours after Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis enforced strict regulations to try and limit the spread of COVID-19.
Earlier, the governor ordered:
- A 30-day closure of all bars and restaurants starting at 5 p.m. Tuesday
- Restaurants and establishments seat only 50 percent their capacity and encourage staggered seating
- Groups of more than 10 are not allowed on the beaches
- Florida universities move to online learning for the remainder of the spring semester
DeSantis said cities and counties can take these regulations further, but these are the baseline rules for the state to enforce social distancing.
Curry reminded the public of his announcement on Monday, where he wanted to limit any establishment -- including movie theaters, arcades, restaurants, etc. -- to only have 50 people max capacity. He did say, however, that he wants establishments to follow DeSantis' order if "it is the most stringent of the two."
For example, he said if an establishment allows 50 people, Curry wants the establishment to cut the occupancy by 50 percent, so only allowing 25 people gathering inside.
"We have to make sure everyone is safe," he said. "Everyone is going to have to play a part of that."
Curry stressed that violating DeSantis' executive order is a crime and will be enforced by the Jacksonville Sheriff's Office. Sheriff Mike Williams, who joined Curry on Tuesday, said it is a matter of being a business regulation that JSO can enforce.
Curry also announced plans to have at least two other testing sites in the works for Duval County residents, including TIAA Bank Field. He said the goal is to get these testing centers ready by the end of the week and Duval residents have to make an appointment prior.
Additionally, Curry asked landlords to "show compassion" toward anybody who may be getting evicted.
"Halt all evictions during this crisis," he said. "Many are economically impacted. Be patient, show compassion and work with tenants to prevent future hardship."
He also requested that motels and hotels also help with some guests needed extending regarding their stays.
"This is a critical moment for Jacksonville, the State of Florida, quite frankly the world," Curry said. "We must do our part to stand united ... keep everyone safe."
Watch the news conference below: