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North Florida beaches among 1st to reopen since closures

DeSantis endorses some beaches, parks to reopen
North Florida beaches among 1st to reopen since closures
Posted at 2:22 PM, Apr 17, 2020
and last updated 2020-04-17 14:22:38-04

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. (AP) — Some north Florida beaches are opening starting Friday, becoming among the first beaches to reopen in the state since coronavirus concerns forced beachgoers away.

Mayor Lenny Curry said Duval County’s beaches are reopening Friday afternoon with restricted hours, and they can only be used for walking, biking, hiking, fishing, running, swimming and surfing.

The beaches will be open between 6 a.m. and 11 a.m. and 5 p.m. to 8 p.m. Gatherings of 50 or more people are prohibited and people must still practice social distancing.

The city said in a tweet that, "It is for exercise only - No chairs, coolers, sunbathing, or towels/blankets laid out to sit on."

Florida officials were criticized for leaving beaches open during spring break last month. Most counties closed their beaches in response.

On Friday, Gov. Ron DeSantis gave the green light for some beaches and parks to reopen if it can be done safely after being closed because of the coronavirus.