Hundreds of individuals in Florida reportedly flocked to a number of beaches as they reopened for “essential activities” after being closed due to the coronavirus outbreak, regardless of the state’s death toll climbing to 726.

When police eliminated limitations from one among these beeches on Friday, crowds cheered, CNN reported.

The Republican Florida governor Ron DeSantis, who was extensively criticized for shifting slowly to comprise the outbreak, permitted some re-openings.

DeSantis mentioned some cities ought to be at liberty to re-open beaches and parks if doing so may very well be performed safely, and with social-distancing restrictions.

“Do it in a good way,” DeSantis advised reporters, saying individuals wanted recent air. “Do it in a safe way.”

The areas that reopened had been in north Florida, together with stretches of sand in Jacksonville Beach, Neptune Beach, and Atlantic Beach, native TV reported.

The “essential activities” permitted at Jacksonville Beach embrace “recreational activities consistent with social distancing guidelines such as walking, biking, hiking, fishing, running, swimming, taking care of pets and surfing”.

“This beach will be open from 6am to 11am, and from 5pm to 8pm each evening,” native station WJAX mentioned.

Sunbathing shouldn’t be permitted. Other restrictions embrace prohibitions on towels and blankets, coolers and grills, and seaside chairs, as nicely as “lingering on the beach without moving”, and gatherings exceeding 10 individuals.

“Folks, this could be the beginning of the pathway back to normal life, but please respect and follow these limitations,” mentioned the Jacksonville mayor, Lenny Curry. “We’ll get back to life as we know it but we must be patient.”





Surfers run into the waves in Jacksonville Beach. Photograph: Will Dickey/AP

“I honestly thought it was phenomenal,” the Jacksonville resident Amanda Campos told the native media outlet First Coast News. “It gives people fresh air. They can go for a walk. It’s nothing crazy. We’re not saying the clubs are opening and it’s not a closed space.”

Some had been frightened, nevertheless.

Deborah Melvin, a Jacksonville resident who mentioned she had misplaced household and buddies to Covid-19, the illness attributable to the coronavirus, mentioned: “This is really a crazy bad idea.”

“I’m afraid. I’m afraid for myself. I’m afraid for my family. Everybody should use their common sense,” she added.

DeSantis issued a statewide stay-at-home order on 1 April, much later than many states and one month after Florida marked its first confirmed Covid-19 cases. He drew significant criticism for not closing beaches during the earlier college spring break, which easily draws hundreds of thousands to the state annually, when beaches were packed and some dismissed the dangers of the virus.

The New York Times reported that folks fell ailing with coronavirus in Florida, after which returned dwelling with the virus.

Florida’s seaside reopenings additionally come amid Trump’s calls to reopen the US financial system and rising protests in some states, pushed by rightwing figures, about social and enterprise restrictions.

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