Is Jacksonville ready for a larger dose of normalcy? Mayor Lenny Curry surely hopes so. On May 12, the mayor announced his desire for the reopening of Jacksonville next week. He touted that Florida's largest city is ready to enter Phase 2 of reopening.
"Because of the shutdown and the disruptions to our economy and daily life, the people of our country are understandably restless. I'm restless too, as is my family," Curry said during a news briefing on Tuesday. The mayor would go on to announce that on May 18, all of his executive ordinances to mitigate the spread of the novel coronavirus will be suspended.
Starting next week, employers will be able to call their employees back into work, though Curry encouraged some employers who can afford for their workers to work from home to continue to do so.
He also sought to reassure that it was safe to eat out at Jacksonville's restaurants, saying that he and his wife enjoyed dinner and ate oysters on the beach.
Curry said that the city would be ready to go into Phase 2 on Monday, but he's awaiting word from Gov. Ron DeSantis if the city has permission to move forward. However, when Curry brought up that his city was ready for the next phase, he said DeSantis was "excited."
Effective Monday, May 18, Mayor Curry is suspending the “Work from Home” order that requires employees that can wor… https://t.co/77tP8zUwOb— City of Jacksonville (COJ) (@City of Jacksonville (COJ))1589300424.0
The mayor's Phase 2 plan would allow the reopening of nightclubs and bars at 50% capacity. Restaurants, which are currently only allowed to operate under 25% capacity, will be bumped up to 75%.
Watch Mayor @lennycurry and emergency management team leaders brief and answer questions from the media on Tuesday… https://t.co/MtBMRiSL6J— City of Jacksonville (COJ) (@City of Jacksonville (COJ))1589307913.0
While Jacksonville has to wait for DeSantis' blessing, it hasn't stopped Curry from moving to his own drumbeat in reopening Duval County.
There are currently 1,186 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Duval County. For more information visit… https://t.co/XQ0XZiLakj— JaxReady (@JaxReady)1589305161.0
If Jacksonville is allowed to move into Phase 2, this will no doubt create even more headlines and either provide hope for a beleaguered nation or provide Florida with another derogatory hashtag. The ball is in Jacksonville's court. *Photos used for illustrative purposes.