It finally happened. Jacksonville beaches will reopen to the public in Duval County. The move, announced Thursday evening in a press conference, is an attempt to give residents a sense of normalcy while still maintaining social distancing rules.\n“Folks, his can be the beginning of the pathway back to normal life,” Jacksonville Mayor Lenny Curry said Thursday during the briefing. “Please respect and follow these limitations. Stay within the guidelines for your safety as well as for the safety of your neighbors.”\nBeaches throughout the county will officially open at 5 p.m. on Friday. Moving forward, their hours of operation will be 6-11 a.m. and then 5-8 p.m. daily.\nThe decision also included city parks, which will resume normal operating hours.\nMayor Curry also thanked the community for following the safe-at-home order that was placed on April 3, and their continued practice of social distancing while in public.\n"The data in Duval County is encouraging, but we need to stay the course and continue to take precautions. We'll get back to life as we know it, but we must be patient," he continued.\nThe mayors of the beaches are expected to hold a news conference Friday at 11 a.m. before the opening.\nBeaches and parks in Duval County will reopen Friday, April 17 at 5 p.m. with certain restrictions. Beaches will only be open from 6am to 11am and 5pm to 8pm Please watch the video for additional details and follow this link for the press release. https://t.co/TmkOmXhphS pic.twitter.com/206hiEbRyZ— City of Jacksonville (COJ) (@CityofJax) April 16, 2020\nBeaches like Jacksonville, Neptune, Atlantic, and Mayport Poles that have been closed since March 20 following the city's executive order will resume with tight restrictions.\nActivities such as walking, biking, running, swimming, taking care of pets, and surfing are considered OK at this time.\nJacksonville, Florida beaches reopen tomorrow. pic.twitter.com/7PdMlnq76V— Mike Dubberly GDA (@MikeDubberlyGDA) April 17, 2020\nThe city emphasizes that this is meant for exercise only. They warn those not to bring chairs, coolers, or towels for sunbathing, as it won't be permitted.\n"Public safety officials like lifeguards and police departments will be enforcing these restrictions," a tweet from the city mentions.\nView this post on Instagram #BeachesOpen #MayportPoles #ThePoles #Surf #Surfer #Surfing #surflife #hannapark #jacksonvillebeach #Travel #Ocean #Life #Relax #Adventure #Calm #Travel #Outdoor #Sun #Fashion #Coast #surfshop #surflife #jacksonvillebeach #sunrise #sunrisesurfshop #aquaeast #outerknown #waves #atlanticbeach #neptunebeach A post shared by Mayport Poles (@mayportpoles) on Apr 17, 2020 at 4:36am PDT\nThe choice to open the beaches and parks up again is a signal that the tides may be turning.