Pensacola Mayor Grover Robinson is eyeing the beginning of October as the time to reopoen city facilities like community centers that have been closed since a spike of COVID-19 cases in July.
Robinson said during his weekly press conference Monday that he will be meeting with local hospital officials on Sept. 14 to evaluate the current caseload of COVID-19 patients and use that as a decision to reopen community centers and other city facilities that have been closed for the last two months.
Robinson said barring a significant increase in the number of COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations, the goal would be to open city facilities back up to the public by October.
"It is all sort of dependent upon what the numbers say, but where we are trending right now and the direction we're going, I certainly think we can expect to see most things moving in that direction toward getting open in October," Robinson said.
Pensacola closed community centers on July 10 in response to an increase in the number of COVID-19 cases in the community. Numbers of new cases continued to increase through the month, and hospitalizations peaked on July 20 at 246 people in the hospital on that day because of COVID-19.
Community centers close: Pensacola closes community centers in response to COVID-19 case spike
On Monday, there were currently 117 people hospitalized because of COVID-19, according to the latest numbers provided by hospitals to the city of Pensacola and Escambia County.
Robinson said he believed the daily hospitalized number should be down to 75 before he felt comfortable reopening city facilities to the public, but he said hospital officials wanted the number at closer to 50.
"We're trying to figure out what to do and to do it safely," Robinson said. "Our whole goal is to be open."
The Pensacola City Council hasn't held a meeting that the public was allowed to attend in-person since April.
Robinson said that in-person public meetings could also likely come back to the city in October.
The mask ordinance will stay in place and masks will be required to be worn entering city buildings, Robinson said.
"We don't want city facilities and city meetings to become a place for outbreaks," Robinson said.
Jim Little can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org and 850-208-9827.