Communications and Events Coordinator Melinda Conlon reported to Historic City News that on Friday, March 20, 2020 the City of St Augustine Beach held a Special Emergency Commission Meeting to discuss the COVID-19 Health Crisis as it relates to Governor Ron DeSantis’s March 17, 2020 Executive Order 20-68. Additionally, the newly added Executive Orders 20-69 and 20-71 were also covered.
Executive Order 20-68 in part, limited restaurants to have no more than 50% occupancy and have groups of 10 or less people and a minimum distance of 6 feet between parties. The Executive Order also restricted the beaches to have parties with no more than 10 people and a distance of at least 6 feet between groups. The St. Augustine Beach Police Department visited local restaurants, handed out copies of and explained the Order.
Within days of Executive Order 20-68, two more Executive Orders from the Governor were issued, and both were discussed at the meeting. Executive Order 20-69 suspends the need for a Quorum to be required in person at local government meetings. It allows the use of technology including video conferencing to conduct meetings. The Commission approved the use of electronics and technology to conduct future meetings.
Executive Order 20-71 directed all restaurants and establishments to suspend on premises food and alcohol sales. The establishments are permitted to operate their kitchens for the purposes of providing delivery or take-out services. The Executive Order also required the closure of gymnasiums and fitness centers in the State of Florida. The St. Augustine Beach Police are doing a social media push to educate the public and will also have a presence at our local establishments. The Department of Business and Professional Regulation (DBPR) is responsible for implementing and enforcing the Order as necessary to protect public health, safety and welfare.
In an effort to maximize observance of the State of Florida’s Executive Order regarding gatherings on beaches, vehicular access to all St. Johns County beaches was prohibited beginning on Saturday, March 21, but the beaches remain open to food traffic and parking lots remain open.
Chief Hardwick discussed with the Commission the effort to keep the beaches open for the enjoyment of the visitors while also needing to protect the health and welfare of our residents. The St. Augustine Beach Police Department along with several other agencies are working together to inform beach visitors about the Center for Disease Control regulations by handing out fliers and speaking to people in person.
- The City of St. Augustine Beach offices are planning to continue normal operations as of now. Both the City Manager’s Office and the Building and Zoning Department are practicing social distancing as much as possible and the offices are being cleaned multiple times daily. The Public Works Department is also working under normal operations.
- The City of St. Augustine Beach Communications staff is working to keep the residents updated on the latest COVID-19 information through Social Media efforts often multiple times per day. This information includes Executive Orders, St. Johns County Updates and Closures, CDC information and Financial resource information.
All events in the City of St. Augustine Beach’s jurisdiction through May 9, 2020 will be postponed. This includes 5K Betty Griffin Run and Arbor Day Event at City Hall.
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