Jacksonville Mayor Lenny Curry said Thursday the city is looking at providing financial relief to small businesses struggling from the effects of the coronavirus.
The mayor said the relief package has a high chance of coming in the form of direct payments.
“By the way, relief for small businesses also has an impact on wage earners and working people,” Curry said. “So by next week, I expect that I'll be able to announce an idea to you which will include city support relief for small businesses.”
The mayor said he’s talking with the City Council about his proposed relief fund.
Curry added the city has received more than 50 complaints about employers not complying with the city-wide executive order mandating working from home if possible.
Code enforcement will take the helm in following up on those complaints.
“Employer and employee, please get together and figure this out,” Curry said. “Government doesn't want to come in and tell you what to do and how to do it.”
Meanwhile, city officials said area hospital capacity is around 65-70%, which is considered “normal operations.”
They are still setting up the field hospital at the Prime Osborn Center that would add more than 200 additional beds.
As of Thursday evening, more than 2,000 people had been tested for COVID-19 through the drive-thru sites, according to a tweet by Curry.
City officials said results can be found at LabCorp’s results page after filling in the necessary information. Results can take 5-8 days to come in.
As the beginning of April approaches, Curry urged landlords to be lenient if tenants can’t make payments for rent.
Curry took to Twitter after Thursday’s press conference to say he’s spoken to Justice Charles Canady about evictions:
At my press conference today, I was asked what the City is doing in regards to evictions. They have been placed on hold. I’ve talked to our Chief Judge and the FL Supreme Court is suspending writs of possession until April 17th . So no evictions now.
— Lenny Curry (@lennycurry) March 26, 2020
Curry also addressed Governor Ron DeSantis’ executive order to prevent all visitations at nursing homes and assisted living facilities.
“I know this is another tough one,” Curry said. “People want to see their loved ones. But these are some of the most vulnerable people, and the executive order that the Governor issued, this is a really important one in the fight against the spread of COVID-19. In the fight to keep our people alive, in the fight to keep our hospitals operating under manageable conditions.”
Curry has also been preaching a daily call to a family member or friend at 7 p.m. across the city. He said it helps to take his mind off of COVID-19 and rekindle relationships.
“Call somebody and listen to them and share with them and talk about something other than COVID-19,” Curry said. “I'm hearing so many stories about people that are connecting with people they haven't in so long.”