Mayor: Jax Hasn’t Been Contacted To Dock COVID-19 Ship; Watersports Still Allowed

Apr 2, 2020

Jacksonville Mayor Lenny Curry followed up on a tweet he sent last night regarding a cruise ship off the coast of Florida with passengers exhibiting COVID-19 symptoms potentially docking in the city’s port. 

Curry said he hasn’t heard anything from officials about the ship coming into Jacksonville.

“I called the head of our port and made other calls of folks that would have knowledge of ships coming into our port, and I had not been contacted. Those officials have not been contacted,” Curry said at a Thursday afternoon press conference. 

Wednesday night, Curry sent out a tweet saying to keep the city safe, he would try to prevent ships carrying those with COVID-19 patients from docking in Jacksonville.

“Our city is caring and compassionate,” Curry said. “My tweet was simply expressing on the front end, since no one has contacted us, that while we demonstrate our compassion, we need to have absolute guarantee that federal, state and local resources will be coordinated to ensure the safety of our local community.”

Related: Local, State And National Coronavirus Coverage

On Wednesday, Curry announced a stay-at-home order, which tells residents to stay home unless they need to get to an essential business

However, recreational activities, such as golfing and watersports are still allowed. The Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office says while the executive order will limit access to the waterways, it won’t shut the waterways down.

“My executive order does have a piece in it that allows for outdoor recreational activity if you're practicing social distancing,” Curry said. 

The stay-at-home order goes into effect Friday at 12:01 a.m. Governor Ron DeSantis issued his own statewide “safer-at-home” order which has similar measures. 

To make sure that large gatherings aren’t happening after the executive order goes into effect, the Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office is monitoring social media for potential parties so they can talk to the organizers and have them prevented. 

If someone is an employee of an essential business, they won’t need to carry any type of confirmation of working for that business. 

For testing, Curry said the number of tests conducted in Duval County compared to the number of positive cases is hovering around 7%, which he said is lower than any other major metropolitan area in Florida. 

On Saturday, April 4, the demolition of the Hart Bridge begins near TIAA Bank Field, which is where the federal Lot J COVID-19 testing site is located. Curry said JSO will work with construction in the area to figure out traffic flow.  

Regarding seniors in high school not getting to enjoy special events such as prom, Curry said he understands their frustration. 

“I just want to take a moment to express to all of our school children that lives have been totally flipped upside down,” Curry said. “Your school officials care for you and about you, your city cares for you and about you. And it's not lost on us and lost on me that seniors are missing these life shaping experiences.”

Sky Lebron can be reached at slebron@wjct.org, 904-358-6319 or on Twitter at @SkylerLebron.