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Posted on: May 1, 2020

City will follow governor's directive for re-opening

image of St. Augustine City Gates, Phase 1 Re-opening St. Augustine

Local administrative orders superseded

On Monday, May 4, in accordance with Governor DeSantis’ Executive Order 20-112 outlining Florida’s plan for recovery, the City of St. Augustine, will begin a phased reopening in collaboration with St. Johns County, the City of St. Augustine Beach, and local law enforcement and public safety agencies.  This executive order from the governor’s office supersedes all administrative orders previously executed by the city.

“From the very first Administrative Order, when we made the decision to shut down our festivals and then with every decision after that, the most important consideration was our local community’s health and well-being,” remarked City Manager John Regan.  “Our downtown economy has taken an immeasurable hit, and we all want to see it come back to life.  But we have worked very hard at following the guidelines and rules set forth by the governor and re-opening the city will be no different.”

The phased approach presented by Governor DeSantis clearly defines a careful and methodical plan for reopening the local economy.  It is the intent of the City to abide by those guidelines set forth and not create any additional mandates or restrictions.  “We are eager to see things return to some sense of normal, but it will certainly be a new normal,” Regan remarked.  “We must continue to observe all the recommended practices… everything from social distancing, wearing masks when and where it’s appropriate, and keeping in mind things like essential versus non-essential travel and activities.”

When Executive Order 20-112 goes into effect for the State of Florida on Monday, the following will be in effect for the City of St. Augustine:

  • Restaurants in compliance with the guidelines may open – this will include observing indoor seating at 25% occupancy.  Outside seating will be set at six feet apart and serving alcohol with food will be permitted.  Restaurants must only seat parties of 10 or less.  Almost all establishments in St. Augustine serving alcohol are licensed as restaurants.
  • In-store retail shops can open at 25% capacity and will follow safety guidelines issued by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA).
  • Museums and libraries can open at 25% of their building occupancy; however, components of interactive functions and exhibits must be closed.
  • Short-term vacation rentals remain suspended.
  • Hotels and commercial lodging establishments may reopen at their discretion, in compliance with recommended guidelines.
  • Transportation operations such as tour trains, trolleys and horse-drawn carriages may commence limited operations in Phase 1.
  • City-managed parking lots, on-street parking, and the parking garage will remain free of charge until further notice.
  • The Visitor Information Center and Gift Shop will remain closed.
  • Avoid congregating in groups larger than 10.
  • Restrictions remain in place for visiting nursing homes and long-term care facilities.
  • Senior citizens and individuals with underlying medical conditions are strongly encouraged to stay at home.
  • City Hall will remain closed to the public, but all customer services are available via telephone, email and internet. 
  • The drive-thru Customer Service window is open, Monday through Friday, from 8:00am to 4:00pm, but our walk-in Customer Service at 50 Bridge Street remains closed.

While this has been an unprecedented experience for everyone in the community, the City of St. Augustine is grateful for the commitment of the community to be united in its efforts to flatten the curve of Coronavius, and to do its part to remain safe and healthy throughout this crisis.

This will be a phased process of re-opening – careful, thoughtful, and measured – to ensure the safety and health of the community.  The governor’s Safe. Smart. Step-by-Step. plan is the blueprint for re-opening the city.

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