“Health experts say it mitigates the risk, and the city council learned that military installations in Jacksonville also force it,” a source said of Curry’s thinking.
Curry, a former chairman of the Florida Republican Party, has been ideologically resistant to approving government mandates. At one point, he considered closing bars in the city, but it was contained before Governor Ron DeSantis essentially did it statewide.
Curry is determined that the Republican convention be held safely in Jacksonville, and those familiar with his thinking say he wants to do what he can to once again reduce infection rates and increase hospitalizations. Jacksonville’s infection and hospitalization rates are well below those of Miami-Dade County in the southeast corner of the state.
Curry received political criticism for the RNC’s decision to move to Jacksonville last week when a group of doctors signed a letter opposing the decision.
Although he gained a reputation for governing bipartisan, Curry’s approval ratings were affected in a recent poll by the University of North Florida, which found significant voter opposition to the event.
“National nomination conventions are polarizing events and, as expected, levels of support for Jacksonville that the RNC hosts vary dramatically by partisanship,” said Michael Binder, director of the university’s Public Opinion Research Laboratory based in Jacksonville.