FINALLY: City of St. Augustine to resume in-person public meetings

Now that the governor’s October 1st deadline is upon them, the city manager, John Regan, is throwing the public an obligatory “bone”, announcing to local Historic City News reporters that City Hall “is prepared to resume in-person public meetings and hearings”.

“The people will no longer be denied face-to-face communication with their elected officials,” a representative of the Saint Augustine Tea Party said.  “There have been some disappointing consequences suffered by our city this year that were brought on by poor decision-making from elected and appointed officials.  There has been no accountability to the public.”

Based upon the current CDC guidelines and local conditions, the following health and safety protocols will apply to and be enforced at all in-person public meetings and hearings:

  • All meeting rooms will be configured to maintain the 6-foot social distancing radius recommended by the CDC.
  • All meeting rooms will be sanitized by wiping all flat surfaces and chairs prior to each meeting.
  • All members of the public, City Commission, staff, and appointed boards or committees are required to wear a face covering over the nose and mouth at all times while in the meeting room.  If necessary, a face covering may be lowered in order to be audible while actively speaking but must be replaced over the nose and mouth immediately after speaking.
  • Face masks and hand sanitizer will be made available as needed prior to entry.
  • Face coverings include a uniform piece of material that securely covers a person’s nose and mouth and remains affixed in place without the use of one’s hands.  Types of coverings include a face mask, homemade mask, or other covering, such as a scarf, bandana, handkerchief, or other similar cloth covering or full-face shields.
  • Participants requesting accommodation due to a disability which prevents the use of face coverings may use alternative face coverings.  Alternative face coverings include scarves, other loose face covering, or full-face shield.
  • Participants unable to wear a face covering will be required to remain outside of the meeting hall where they may audibly observe the meeting or hearing. Participants will be allowed to participate in any public comment period and will be escorted to the podium and must exit the room after comment.
  • Capacity for physical attendance within the Alcazar Room will be reduced based on the 6-foot social distancing.  Physical attendance will be prioritized as follows until maximum capacity is reached:

A.      Commission/Board Members
B.      City Attorney
C.      City Manager
D.      City Clerk
E.       Necessary staff
F.       Applicants (one at a time)
G.      Public participants

9. Applicants appearing before a board for hearing will be asked to queue outside the meeting room and enter with any witnesses or agents upon the calling of their application for hearing.