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Jacksonville Mayor Responds To Criticism On Opening Beaches

Duval County beaches are open from 6 am until 11 am, and from 5 pm until 8 pm daily
Duval County beaches are open from 6 am until 11 am, and from 5 pm until 8 pm daily

Jacksonville Mayor Lenny Curry responded to criticism on Monday that he’s faced since announcing the limited reopening of beaches and parks in Duval County.

“I'm not going to make decisions based on how I think critics outside of this city, or certain news outlets are going to react and talk about us,” Curry said.

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Both Duval and St. Johns Counties reopened the beaches Friday on a limited basis for exercise activities such as walking, swimming and jogging, resulting in a backlash from some community members and media outlets outside the region.

In tweets over the weekend, Curry said national and international news outlets were running “sensationalist headlines with no understanding of our city.” 

“While it would be tempting for me to get into a back-and-forth with certain cable news outlets, I'm not going to go there,” Curry said Monday.

Curry said he is in communication with local law enforcement and the mayors at the city’s beaches, and that the community is abiding by social distancing.

The mayor also said before opening beaches in Duval County, the foot traffic of exercisers on 1st St. -- which runs parallel to the beach -- was so crowded that they needed to break the crowds up.

“This was a very measured opportunity to open more space out there where people were already moving around on 1st St.,” Curry said.

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