“I saw this earlier and thought it was fake news! Guess wasnt!” – Barry Huffiger, Facebook
UPDATE: YES, these pictures were taken at Jacksonville Beach
Originally published 4.20.2020, “Beaches Reopen, Packed In 26 Minutes” | Updated 4.21.2020
Crowds flock to beaches amid record COVID-19 cases
CBS News – Mayor Lenny Curry reopened beaches and parks in Jacksonville, Florida on Friday, after Governor Ron DeSantis gave the green light for them to reopen, despite the state hitting a record number of coronavirus cases.
When they opened at 5 p.m., crowds flooded the area, ignoring social distancing warnings.
Jacksonville Beach, Neptune Beach and Atlantic Beach are now open from 6-11 a.m. and 5-8 p.m. for “essential activities.” They are closed during all other times.
‘Hey, I’m walkin’ here … “
More than 25,000 people in Florida have been infected with COVID-19, and schools, business and public events are all closed or canceled to try to slow its spread, according to the state Department of Health.
Curry said recreational activities consistent with social distancing guidelines such as walking, biking, hiking, fishing, running, swimming, taking care of pets and surfing are considered essential and do not contradict DeSantis’ executive order.
Activities such as sunbathing, grilling, and congregating in large groups are prohibited.
“This can be the beginning of the pathway back to normal life. Please respect and follow these limitations. Stay within the guidelines for your safety as well as for the safety of your neighbors.”
But photos of the Jacksonville beaches show hundreds of people walking, swimming and talking in large groups — many without face masks.
Twitter users on Saturday morning called out Floridians for not taking proper precautions, as “Florida morons” trended nationwide.
I live in Florida and I don’t want to die! Yesterday we had the highest number of new cases of COVID-19, and what does GOP Governor DeSantis do? He opens beaches! I just don’t want to die. I don’t want my friends or family to die! Is that too much to ask for GOP?#FloridaMorons … Read more.
U P D A T E :
Immediately after we first posted this story (April 20, 2020), we heard from readers insisting that the photo we chose (below, left) was ‘fake news’ – that it was not taken at Jacksonville Beach and it was not taken on April 17, 2020. We checked it out on Google Earth (below, right) so you can compare:
Another news source that we have no reason to doubt recently showed a very similar picture taken this past weekend … the tip of the building with the green roof is visible in the lower right corner. The red flag in the lower center is also visible in both news images:
RECENTLY ON HEADLINE HEALTH: