St. Augustine tourism could face problems with nightlife ordinance, economic study recommended

ST. AUGUSTINE, Fla. — The St. Johns County Chamber of Commerce is asking the city commission to “take a step back” in consideration of the new nightlife ordinance.


Action News Jax told you how the new ordinance would affect 28 bars, breweries, and restaurants in St. Augustine.

Chamber President and CEO Isabella Renault is calling on the St. Augustine City Commission to momentarily stop its efforts to create a new nightlife ordinance.

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The reason behind the effort to pause passing the new ordinance is a possible negative impact on the tourism business.

“Without a complete understanding of the potential negative effects that could result for St. Augustine’s hospitality and tourism business, we urge the City Commission to take a step back and conduct the study that was recommended by both its consultant RHI (Responsible Hospitality Institute) and the City-approved Special Committee to Study Nightlife,” Renault said in a statement.

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According to the Chamber of Commerce, the nightlife ordinance says it would require any establishment wishing to sell alcohol between midnight and 2 a.m. to obtain a special permit from the city. 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.

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“The City has appeared on many national “Best Of” lists for its quality of life and tourism and hospitality offerings,” Renault said. “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.”

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