Photos: Florida Governor Opens Beaches, Crowds Appear Immediately

Coronavirus in Jacksonville Beach

People crowded the beaches in its first open hour on April 17, 2020 in Jacksonville Beach, Fl. … [+] (Photo by David Rosenblum/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

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If you open it, they will come.

At a news conference yesterday, Florida Governor Ron DeSantis gave the green light for some beaches and parks to reopen in the Sunshine State if it can be done safely, with distancing guidelines remaining in place.

Almost immediately, some beaches in northern Florida were opened and, perhaps predictably, people flocked to them.

Jacksonville Beach became the first beach in the country to open. The city’s mayor, Lenny Curry, opened Duval County beaches, including Jacksonville Beach, Neptune Beach and Atlantic Beach, with restricted hours, from 6 a.m. to 11 a.m. and 5 p.m. to 8 p.m.

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People may visit the beaches for recreation only — walking, biking, hiking, fishing, running, swimming, surfing and taking care of pets — but visitors are not allowed to bring chairs, coolers or blankets to sit on. Gatherings of 50 or more people are prohibited and people must practice social distancing.

Jacksonville, Florida Re-Opens Beaches After Decrease In COVID-19 Cases

People are seen at the beach on April 17, 2020 in Jacksonville Beach, Florida. (Photo by Sam … [+] Greenwood/Getty Images)

Getty Images

Coronavirus in Jacksonville Beach

A group of people play volleyball on the beach in its first open hour on April 17, 2020 in … [+] Jacksonville Beach, Fl. (Photo by David Rosenblum/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

Coronavirus in Jacksonville Beach

Jacksonville Beach in its first open hour on April 17, 2020. (Photo by David Rosenblum/Icon … [+] Sportswire via Getty Images)

Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

Governor DeSantis was criticized for leaving beaches open during spring break in March, but most Florida counties closed their beaches or kept them open under very restrictive conditions. Other beaches in South Florida — including Miami Beach — remain closed.

As of Saturday afternoon, Florida has more than 25,000 confirmed cases of coronavirus and more than 740 deaths.

Meanwhile, on Twitter, #FloridaMorons is the no. 1 trending hashtag in the U.S.

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