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Businesses across Duval County will need to limit the number of people inside their buildings to only 50 at a time.
The new restrictions apply to places like restaurants, bars, movie theatres and shopping malls but also churches.
It’ll exclude grocery stores, office buildings, and manufacturing plants.
Mayor Lenny Curry made the decision Monday after expressing disappointment over photos he saw over the weekend of large gatherings, mainly in the beaches.
“I was extremely disturbed and disappointed,” said Curry. “It must be curtailed.”
The goal of the new restrictions is to slow the spread of COVID19.
Curry said he wanted to get out ahead of Tuesday, St. Patrick’s Day holiday.
“The smaller number of reported cases are a false sense of security. These folks were infected before we knew this disease was in our community,” said Curry.
However, enforcement will be based on the honor system.
Alcohol sales will also be prohibited between the hours of midnight and 8 a.m. to include the beaches but does not include grocery stores.
If businesses fail to adhere to the restrictions Curry said he’s prepared to take further action.
“What would a stricter action look like if people do not adhere to what you’re mandating here today?” asked journalist Lorena Inclán.
“Will address that, cross that bridge when we get to it. If we get there hopefully, we don’t get there,” he said.
Curry said his office is looking into possibly using city funds to help small businesses that were affected.
Federal officials on Monday shared new guidelines aimed at slowing the spread of the 2019 novel coronavirus.
President Donald Trump outlined the following measures being recommended by authorities:
- Encouraging people of all ages to work at home or to engage in at-home schooling
- Recommending people avoid gathering in groups of 10 or more people
- Asking Americans to avoid discretionary travel
- Telling people to avoid eating at restaurants or public food courts
“It isn’t an overreaction," Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, said Monday at a news conference at the White House. “It’s a reaction that we think is commensurate for what is actually going on in reality.”
Trump said the precautions might be needed through July or August, though authorities put no firm timeline on the recommendations Monday.
Fauci urged people to heed warnings from authorities and to follow the newly released guidelines for avoiding COVID-19 spread.
“(The precautions) will fail if people don’t adhere to them,” Fauci said. “We have to, as a whole country, cooperate and collaborate to get this done.”
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