PALATKA, Fla. — The city of Palatka may look a little different than other Florida cities reopening businesses and other activities, and its mayor says there’s good reason.
"The biggest thing is making sure we don’t make hasty decisions to put our people at risk," Mayor Terrill Hill said.
He’s concerned about the recent confirmed coronavirus cases in Putnam County and Palatka, which on Friday saw seven new cases. All of them were children
Their ages span from 3 to 17 years old. Hill says there hasn’t been any flattening of the curve.
"We will have one or two days of ’quiet time,’ for a lack of a better term, but then we will get a spike of 10 or so cases," he told First Coast News.
There are currently 173 cases in Putnam County and Hill says Palatka has about 80% of those.
The city postponed its fishing tournament and its 4th of July plans with the hope of celebrating sometime in September. The popular Blue Crab Festival was also moved to Labor Day weekend.
"We’ve been cautious to make sure and to continue to spread the message of social distancing throughout the course of the events," Hill explained.
He says the health and well-being of his residents is his number one priority which is why he has reservations to reopen recreational areas for sports leagues despite Gov. Ron DeSantis’ green light.
"Our kids are still at the point where we don’t feel as though it’s okay to have children within a school setting throughout the course of a day," Hill said. "But, we will allow recreational activities to take place with team sports. I think that in itself is a contradiction as to what’s safe inside of Florida."