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Ferry closure impacts local businesses

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Updated: 12/02/2013 7:43 pm
FT. GEORGE, Fla. -- The St. Johns River Ferry will be shut down through December 30.

The ferry will stay docked during mandatory U.S. Coast Guard overhauls and inspections.

Commuters who use the ferry daily are preparing for longer days, because they must now navigate around the river from Jacksonville's north side with no quick way to do it.

The ferry crosses about one mile of the St. Johns River, connecting Ft. George and Mayport Village, multiple times daily.

"Probably gonna add a half hour to my trip at least," said Peter Vinci.

The closure also impacts the bottom line for businesses in Ft. George which depend on those customers who fill up at the gas station, eat at the restaurant and visit other shops. People say December is already the slowest month for ferry traffic and the slowest for their profits.

"There's hardly any customers now, and it's gonna knock it back even more," said Sand Dollar Restaurant employee Ted Paterson.

Barz Liquors and Fish Camp next door has been around for 42 years. Employee Elaine Shaw thinks it will be affected a bit but that it could be worse.

"We have survived the ferry closing in the past, we have survived the Dames Point opening," said Shaw. "At least they are not shutting it down permanently."
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