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Jax Daily Record Monday, Nov. 9, 202006:00 PM EST

City Council meeting canceled after Wilson tests positive for COVID-19

President Tommy Hazouri asked Gov. Ron DeSantis to allow a virtual-only meeting, but has not heard back.
by: Mike Mendenhall Associate Editor

Jacksonville City Council President Tommy Hazouri canceled the Nov. 10 Council meeting after District 4 member Scott Wilson tested positive for COVID-19, according to Hazouri’s spokesperson.

The Council president called off the meeting after Wilson received his diagnosis Nov. 9, said Hazouri Executive Council Assistant Amber Lehman.

District 4 Council member Scott Wilson

As of the afternoon of Nov. 9, Gov. Ron DeSantis had not responded to Hazouri’s request for a waiver to allow Jacksonville to hold the meeting virtually only and not in-person, Lehman said.

DeSantis issued an executive order Sept. 30 that requires local governments to return to in-person public meetings by Nov. 1 after allowing virtual meetings since March to reduce COVID-19 transmission. 

Local government bodies can use virtual platforms to broadcast meetings but action must take place in-person, according to the order.

Wilson said Nov. 9 in a phone interview that he was tested for coronavirus Nov. 6, a day after a special meeting at City Hall brought all 19 Council members, representatives from Mayor Lenny Curry’s office and the Jacksonville Jaguars executive staff to Council Chambers for a public hearing on the proposed $450 million Lot J development deal. 

Wilson said that he had a runny nose, what he suspected was an allergy-related symptom, after the meeting but decided to see a doctor. 

“I was really shocked because I had no symptoms. I had no fever, no shortness of breath,” Wilson said.

He has since had some loss of taste, another COVID-19 symptom documented by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Wilson, 50, said he will quarantine for 14 days.

Lehman said the other 18 Council members sitting in the chamber Nov. 6 will not be required to seek testing. It’s unclear what the COVID-19 cancellation will mean for future in-person Council meetings, she said. 

No date was decided to reschedule the Nov. 10 meeting.

Canceling the meeting could delay approval for legislation appropriating $208 million in city-backed debt to Jaguars owner Shad Khan’s mixed-use project near TIAA Bank Field. 

Council staff has taken measures to limit coronavirus spread in the Council chamber. All Council members and the public have to sit at least 6 feet apart. 

Rows of seats are blocked off, and the space is disinfected after each meeting.

The Nov. 10 meeting would have been Wilson’s last as the District 4 Council member. He resigned this year to run for Duval County Clerk of Court. 

He lost a three-way Republican Party primary to Jody Phillips, who won the seat Nov. 3. 

Republican Kevin Carrico won Wilson’s district and likely will be seated by the time the Council reconvenes, pending the certification of the results expected Nov. 16.

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