Skip to main content

Sign up for our newsletter.

Quality journalism. Progressive values. Direct to your inbox.

The beach at Jacksonville.

The beach at Jacksonville. (Photo: Jacksonville Daily Record)


As Coronavirus Numbers Across State Continue to Rise, Florida Gov. DeSantis Allows Some Beaches to Reopen

"Why aren't any elected officials speaking out against this?"

Eoin Higgins

Less than 24 hours after Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis relaxed restrictions on social distancing in the state, clearing the way for beaches and parks in some areas to reopen, the city of Jacksonville announced Friday its beaches would reopen at 5pm. 

Jen Perelman, a candidate for Congress in Florida's 23rd District, said the decision was guaranteed to make the outbreak in the state worse.

"Why aren't any elected officials speaking out against this?" wondered Perelman.

DeSantis made the decision to relax restrictions and allow "essential activities" at beaches after President Donald Trump announced Thursday he was leaving it up to states when to reopen their economies, a decision over which the president did not have any control. 

As Miami reporter Brian Entin noted on Twitter, confirmed coronavirus cases in Florida spiked on Thursday as DeSantis issued his order.

Jacksonville Mayor Lenny Curry cited what he considered encouraging signs from the area's infection rate as a reason to reopen area beaches, he said.

But the case rate in the county has been inconsistent, as the Daily Mail explained:

The number of new cases in 24 hours in Duval County dropped from 43 on April 13 to 17 on April 15, however hospitalizations remained the same with 63 each day over the last 48 hours. Neither have dropped consistently in two weeks and the total number of infections stands at 780.

There are also questions on how the state is counting numbers of deaths due to the disease. 

Nonetheless, as News 4 Jax reported:

Mayor Lenny Curry said Duval County beaches were reopening Friday afternoon with restricted hours, and they can only be used for walking, biking, hiking, fishing, running, swimming, taking care of pets, and surfing.


The beaches will be open from 6 to 11 a.m. and 5 to 8 p.m., Curry said in a video posted to social media.

Curry, a Republican, added that reopening the beaches "could be the beginning of the pathway back to normal life" but urged residents to stick to the restrictions. 

"We'll get back to life as we know it, but we must be patient," said Curry.

As Common Dreams reported in March, Florida's decision to not close beaches during spring break likely contributed to the spread of coronavirus around the country.

Our work is licensed under Creative Commons (CC BY-NC-ND 3.0). Feel free to republish and share widely.

We've had enough. The 1% own and operate the corporate media. They are doing everything they can to defend the status quo, squash dissent and protect the wealthy and the powerful. The Common Dreams media model is different. We cover the news that matters to the 99%. Our mission? To inform. To inspire. To ignite change for the common good. How? Nonprofit. Independent. Reader-supported. Free to read. Free to republish. Free to share. With no advertising. No paywalls. No selling of your data. Thousands of small donations fund our newsroom and allow us to continue publishing. Can you chip in? We can't do it without you. Thank you.

Ilhan Omar Fends Off Primary Challenger Boosted by Right-Wing PAC Money

"Ilhan Omar has faced some of the ugliest attacks of any elected official and had hundreds of thousands of dollars spent against her," said Sen. Bernie Sanders. "Despite this, she won her primary once again."

Jake Johnson ·

'Let's Send Ron Johnson Packing': Mandela Barnes Wins Wisconsin Senate Primary

"We're going to the Senate to rebuild the middle class," said Barnes. "We're going to protect the right to choose. We're going to fight to make the American Dream an American reality."

Jake Johnson ·

Global Allies Stand With Walden Bello as Social Justice Champion Posts Bail in the Philippines

"Walden Bello's arrest is a violation of his fundamental rights, an affront to the institutions of Philippine democracy, and a threat to free expression everywhere," said the Progressive International council.

Jessica Corbett ·

Team Trump Reportedly 'Bullish' About Exploiting FBI Raid to Win Reelection

One former Trump aide-turned-"Big Lie" detractor said that the Justice Department may have "just handed Trump" the 2024 GOP nomination "or potentially the presidency."

Brett Wilkins ·

Pentagon Contractors in Afghanistan Pocketed $108 Billion Over 20 Years

Military contracting "obscures where and how taxpayer money flows," and "makes it difficult to know how many people are employed, injured, and killed," said the Costs of War Project report's author.

Jessica Corbett ·

Common Dreams Logo