Historic City News has been informed to expect blowback from business owners tonight when the City of St Augustine considers a new nightlife ordinance that will have a direct impact on 28 bars, breweries, and restaurants in St Augustine.
The St Johns County Chamber of Commerce President and CEO Isabella Renault is calling on the St Augustine City Commission to momentarily stop its efforts to create a new nightlife ordinance. She is asking the city commission to “take a step back” in consideration of the proposed ordinance.
“Without a complete understanding of the potential negative effects that could result for St Augustine’s hospitality business and tourism, we urge the City Commission to take a step back,” Renault said. “City officials should conduct the study that was recommended by both Responsible Hospitality Institute, its consultant, and the City-approved Special Committee to Study Nightlife.”
According to the Chamber of Commerce, the nightlife ordinance says it would require any establishment wishing to sell alcohol between midnight and 2:00 a.m. to obtain a special $130 annual permit from the city. The reason behind the effort to pause passing the new ordinance is a possible negative impact on the tourism business.
“The City has appeared on many national “Best Of” lists for its quality of life and tourism and hospitality offerings,” Renault went on to say. “Without a complete understanding of the contributions of these businesses to the community, we are concerned that this proposed nightlife ordinance may halt the positive trajectory of the tourism and hospitality sector which is the City’s largest employer.”
The permit specifies following current state alcohol laws such as employee training, no shift drinking by employees, and adherence to fire code maximum capacity limits, among others, according to information provided by the St Johns County Chamber of Commerce.
If you plan to attend or participate in the public comments heard prior to passing this ordinance, the meeting is being held tonight, Monday, September 25, 2023, starting at 5:00 p.m. in the Alcazar Room of City Hall, located at 75 King Street, St Augustine, FL.