As we receive information from the City of St. Augustine and the St. Johns County Government, we will release updates and relevant information to you through this post. Updates will be posted as soon as we received them, and we’ll do our best to keep you informed with the timeliest information.
MAY 16, 2020
ST. JOHNS COUNTY LIBRARIES BEGIN PHASE ONE REOPENING FOR ESSENTIAL SERVICES
St. Johns County Public Library branches will reopen for expanded essential services at 10 a.m. on Tuesday, May 19. Services provided in this phase will include returns, grab-and-go service, and computer usage up to one hour. Staff will assist with material searches and holds. Seating areas, meeting rooms, and play areas will not be accessible. In accordance with CDC recommendations and State of Florida safety guidelines, building capacity will be limited, all returned materials are to be placed in the book drop and will be isolated for four days, and face coverings are strongly recommended. In addition, no fines will accrue at this time. St. Johns County leaders continue to closely follow the Governor’s executive orders and phased reopening guidelines in an effort to safely return to standard operations. For more information, please visit www.sjcpls.org or call your branch library.
MAY 15, 2020
VISITORS CENTER WILL REOPEN IN TIME FOR MEMORIAL DAY
On Monday, May 18, 2020, nearly two months to the day it closed and in anticipation of the upcoming Memorial Day holiday weekend, the St. Augustine and St. Johns County Visitor Information Center (VIC) will re-open to the public with modifications that follow CDC recommended guidelines, including the occupancy rate.
Accessing the VIC will be through a singular point of entry, following a marked path with six-foot intervals to keep guests appropriately distanced while they wait to enter the building, if necessary. Once inside, visitors will be asked to observe appropriate social distancing while exploring the exhibits and the gift shop.
The city offered affordable, bulk quantities of face masks for purchase to local businesses as part of a safe re-opening strategy. Boxes of 50 face masks will be available for purchase, with a two-box limit per customer. Individually wrapped face masks are currently on order and will be available for purchase when they arrive. Hand sanitizer will be available for purchase, as well.
Other signs of implementing the CDC guidelines inside the building include a large double-sided hand sanitizer dispenser centrally located upon entering the building, blue tape lines for safe distancing while waiting in line for the concierge and entering the gift shop, prominently displayed reminder signs for social distancing, and all city employees will be wearing face masks.
VIC Ambassadors will be available to answer questions and monitor the crowd. While there is a single point of exit for the general public, in the event of an emergency, all external doors will remain accessible.
FORT MATANZAS BEACH RAMP OPEN TO VEHICULAR ACCESS
The Fort Matanzas Beach Ramp is now open to one-way traffic as an exit ramp only. This ramp reconstruction project was accomplished through a partnership between St. Johns County and the National Park Service. The reopening of the Fort Matanzas Beach Ramp restores beach access lost due to damage caused by Hurricane Matthew and worsened by subsequent storms. It will also improve response times for law enforcement and emergency services personnel.
Vehicular access on any St. Johns County beach is always subject to local weather, tidal conditions, and the amount of beach available to safely accommodate pedestrian and vehicular traffic. Due to these factors, the ramp may be impassible and vehicles may have to drive back to exit at the Crescent Beach Ramp. Please note that beach driving is prohibited on all areas south of the Fort Matanzas Beach Ramp. With the opening of the ramp, the Fort Matanzas Beach Ramp parking lot is also now open to visitors. Daily driving conditions are posted to the SJC Beaches Twitter account and Facebook page, and the Reach the Beach mobile app. For more information, call 904.209.0333.
MAY 14, 2020
ST. JOHNS COUNTY UTILITIES RECOMMENDS FRESHENING WATER SYSTEMS BEFORE REOPENING BUILDINGS
St. Johns County Utilities recommends following EPA guidelines when reopening buildings that have been closed for an extended period of time. Stagnant water conditions can result in discolored water, lower chlorine levels, and changes in water chemistry due to little or no water running through building water pipes and fixtures. Building managers and business owners who are reopening buildings are recommended to follow these steps:
- Review and understand the plumbing configuration and water usage in your building.
- Inspect the plumbing to ensure it is functioning properly and in good condition.
- Review the potential impact degraded water quality might have on your building occupants considering their use of the building and the building’s water systems.
- Flush the building’s plumbing system.
- Drain and clean water storage facilities and hot water heaters.
- Follow appropriate regulations and policies for worker safety and health while performing all activities.
Building managers and business owners are encouraged to contact their water utility company with questions regarding the status and quality of the water in their distribution system. For more information, please visit the EPA website regarding restoring water quality in buildings that have been closed or call St. Johns County Utilities at 904.209.2645.
MAY 12, 2020
ST. JOHNS COUNTY BEGINS SMALL BUSINESS EMERGENCY ASSISTANCE GRANT PROGRAM
In an effort to assist with economic recovery, St. Johns County has launched the Small Business Emergency Assistance Grant Program to provide emergency funding for local businesses. The goal of the grant program is to help offset the temporary loss of revenue and help keep small businesses open during and after this global pandemic.
Beginning Wednesday, May 13, St. Johns County based businesses may apply to the program for up to $5,000 in emergency grant funding. In order to be eligible for the St. Johns County Small Business Emergency Assistance Grant Program, businesses must:
- Have been operational for at least one year and be registered with the Florida Division of Corporations (SUNBIZ) as of March 1, 2019.
- Own or lease commercial space within St. Johns County.
- Have between five and 20 employees, including part-time and 1099 employees.
- Have applied or attempted to apply for other Federal/State disaster loan/grant funding, but have not received these funds as of this application.
- Be in good legal standing, with no court-ordered financial obligations (e.g. no enforceable judgements, liens, bankruptcies, arbitration settlements requiring withholding of funds, felony convictions, violation of court orders requiring holding of funds for child support, court costs, or criminal victim reimbursement programs).
The St. Johns County Small Business Emergency Assistance Grant Program to support small businesses and the local economy is made possible through support of the St. Johns County Industrial Development Authority. Funds may only be used for rent, mortgage, utilities, or payroll through June 2020. Funds are limited and will be awarded on a first-submitted, eligible, and approved application basis. Non-profit organizations and businesses not located in St. Johns County, engaged in any illegal activity, or based within a home are not eligible for the Small Business Emergency Assistance Grant Program. For more information, please email [email protected] or call 904.209.6050.
MAY 11, 2020
CITY COORDINATES DISTRIBUTION OF MASKS TO LOCAL BUSINESSES
In an effort to assist local businesses in their ability to safely open and operate, the City of St. Augustine will make available face masks for purchase starting today. With a minimum order of 100 masks (two boxes), businesses operating within in the city limits may complete an online inventory request form to initiate an order. A member of city staff will respond to the request within two business days to take payment over the phone and coordinate a time for pick-up. Masks will be available for pick-up Monday through Friday, during regular business hours, by appointment.
“We wanted to be able to provide assistance that would help lessen the financial burden of some of the safety recommendations set forth by CDC and OSHA as part of the re-opening strategy,” City Manager John Regan said. “With the city’s ability to purchase face masks in large, bulk quantities, we can offer an affordable option as these businesses get back on their feet.”
The city has ordered an initial total of 125,000 masks and will consider placing an additional order to ensure that every business has the chance to purchase a bulk quantity of face masks. All requests for inventory must be initiated by submitting the web form, which can be found at www.CityStAug.com/COVID19.
MAY 8, 2020
ST. JOHNS COUNTY HEALTH DEPARTMENT OFFERS DRIVE-THRU TESTING
Florida Department of Health in Saint Johns County has expanded COVID-19 Specimen Collection Testing to include those individuals who are asymptomatic (without signs or symptoms of COVID-19) and wish to know their current status. This point-in-time testing is not antibody testing, it is diagnostic testing to show if an individual currently has the COVID-19 virus. This will provide information regarding the prevalence of COVID-19 within our community so we can best prepare and respond to this public health threat.
Department of Health in St. Johns County’s expanded testing initiative, called “May2Day”, began on May 7, 2020 in support of the Governor’s Safe. Smart. Step-by-Step. Plan for Florida’s Recovery.
Starting on Friday, May 8th, Florida Department of Health in Saint Johns County’s COVID-19 Specimen Collection for Lab Testing will be offered, while supplies last and weather permitting, on a first come, first serve basis, Monday through Saturday from 9am to 4pm and on Sunday from 9am to 12pm.
Those who wish to be tested, please note the following:
- This Expanded COVID-19 specimen collection/testing is a free service;
- No more than four (4) people in the car;
- A form of photo identification is needed for each person to be tested;
- Bring your own pen to use when completing testing forms;
- For the health and safety of public health responders, all people in the car over age 2 must have a mask or other alternative face covering; and
- No pets in the car.
Florida Department of Health in Saint Johns County’s COVID-19 Specimen Collection Site will be staged in the parking lot of the St. Johns County Health and Human Services Building located at 200 San Sebastian View, Saint Augustine, FL 32084. Additional sites may be utilized on an occasional basis, as deemed necessary, to meet the needs of vulnerable populations, which may require a change in days or times at this location.
As part of this expanded community testing effort, the COVID-19 Specimens for Testing will be shipped to a state-contracted commercial laboratory. Results of COVID-19 testing will be provided as the lab results become available to the Florida Department of Health in Saint Johns County.
For more information on Florida Department of Health in Saint Johns County’s COVID-19 Expanded Specimen Collection for Testing, please call 904-209-3250 or visit http://StJohns.FloridaHealth.gov/.
CITY ALLOWS TEMPORARY USE OF PARKING LOTS FOR OUTDOOR SEATING
Effective immediately and for a period of thirty days, licensed restaurants may reduce their parking area to create temporary outdoor dining, and licensed restaurants with insufficient or no parking area may enter into agreements with other property owners to create temporary outdoor dining areas in proximity of their restaurants. Other private property may be converted to temporary dining areas subject to review by the City’s Planning Department. Restaurant owners and private property owners (if they are different) must notify the City at [email protected] prior to converting to temporary dining areas, and include the following information:
1) The location of the temporary dining area,
2) The name of the restaurant associated with the location,
3) The name of the private property owner of the area (if different),
4) The hours of operation of the temporary dining area,
5) The responsible party contact information.
In addition to private parking lots, the City may open-up its City parking lots to provide temporary outdoor dining areas for restaurants, in a case-by-case basis if deemed appropriate, safe, and suitable by the City Manager or the City Manager’s designee. During the effective period, the City’s minimum parking requirements will be suspended, and the area identified as temporary outdoor dining will not be considered a parking lot. Restaurant owners and private property owners are responsible for providing adequate insurance for their operations on and off-site, and compliance with all other local, state, and federal law. Public sidewalks, walkways, streets, on-street parking, and right-of-way, are not to be used as food service or beverage service areas. The City’s drinking in public ordinance will be enforced.
If the Governor of Florida terminates capacity restrictions of restaurants prior to the expiration of this order, the use of temporary dining areas shall be suspended, and all previous regulations shall resume. The complete order is available online at https://www.citystaug.com/DocumentCenter/View/3498/Administrative-Order-202009.
APRIL 29, 2020
ST. JOHNS COUNTY PHASE ONE REOPENING
In consideration of Governor DeSantis’ Executive Order 20-112 outlining Florida’s plan for recovery, St. Johns County is launching a phased reopening approach in collaboration with the City of St. Augustine, the City of St. Augustine Beach, and local health care and law enforcement agencies.
The health, safety, and welfare of St. Johns County residents remain the top priorities in the development and implementation of the reopening strategy. Phase One of St. Johns County’s reopening includes:
- Beaches – Beginning Monday, May 4, all restrictions previously in place on St. Johns County beaches are rescinded. On-beach driving remains prohibited and CDC guidelines and social distancing restrictions remain in place.
- Libraries – The St. Johns County Library System is offering curbside service at all branches from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Saturdays for patrons who place items on hold by calling a library or through the Library’s website. Library buildings remain closed to the public. For more information on curbside service, visit www.sjcpls.org/curbside-service/ or call your branch library.
- Recreational Facilities – All recreational facilities, including recreation centers, pools, pavilions, etc., remain closed and unavailable for reservations or rentals.
- Recreational Programing – All recreational programing, including open play, camps, and league activities, remain suspended.
- SJC Ocean and Fishing Pier – Beginning Monday, May 4, the St. Johns County Ocean and Fishing Pier is open to the public with no access fee. All other facilities, including the Pier Gift Shop and pavilion, remain closed to the public and unavailable for reservations, rentals, or events, including farmers markets.
- Pet Center – While St. Johns County Animal Control Services continues to remain active and is responding to calls from the community, the St. Johns County Pet Center remains closed to the public.
- St. Augustine Amphitheatre and Ponte Vedra Concert Hall – All activities and events at the St. Augustine Amphitheatre and Ponte Vedra Concert Hall, including farmers markets, remain suspended.
- Distancing and Industry Guidelines – It is recommended that the public continue to adhere to the CDC social distancing guidelines of limiting gatherings to no more than 10 persons and maintaining a minimum distance of six feet between parties. Guidelines regarding restaurant, retail, and other business operations can be found at www.sjcfl.us/coronavirus.
- The St. Johns County Emergency Operations Center (EOC) – The EOC remains open at a Level Two partial activation. Beginning Monday, May 4, the EOC Hotline will be open from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m., Monday through Friday. The Local State of Emergency remains in effect.
For more information regarding Phase One of the reopening procedures, call the EOC Citizen Information Hotline at (904) 824-5550.
APRIL 28, 2020
ST. JOHNS COUNTY BUILDING FEE REDUCTIONS
In order to help local business recover faster from the COVID-19 health emergency, the St. Johns County Board of County Commissioners approved a 30 percent reduction to Building Services fees, Fire Plans Review fees, and Development Review fees. These reductions will be effective from May 1, 2020, through August 4, 2020. A detailed overview of the reductions can be found at www.sjcfl.us. For more information, please call St. Johns County Building Services at 904.827.6800.
2020 ON-BEACH DRIVING PASSES EXTENDED THROUGH 2021
The St. Johns County Board of County Commissioners has extended all 2020 annual on-beach driving passes through the 2021 beach season. All passes purchased prior to the on-beach driving restrictions and for the remainder of the season are included in the extension. Sales of the passes are currently suspended and on-beach driving remains restricted. For more information, please call 904.209.0752.
APRIL 20, 2020
CITY ANNOUNCES LAUNCH OF THERMOMETER DISTRIBUTION PLAN
On Tuesday, April 21, the City of St. Augustine, in collaboration with Kinsa, Inc., will launch its community health monitoring initiative by distributing 600 thermometers to eligible volunteer candidates, prioritizing city residents, utility customers, large-member households, and households with members who come in contact and interact with the public as part of their daily work or volunteering.
The project will soon expand to include residents outside of the city limits thanks to in-kind donations resulting in the purchase of 300 additional thermometers. Callers will speak directly to city staff monitoring the phone lines and will be asked six simple questions, starting with your name and address, and if you have a mobile phone that connects to the internet. The data is monitored through the Kinsa smartphone application, but no personal information is conveyed with a temperature measurement to the monitoring network. The address in this case also identifies the caller as a city resident, utility customer, or non-city resident.
Additional questions include whether you, or a member of your household physically leaves the home for work, and interacts with 10 or more people on any given workday. Also, how many people live in your household, and if you think a smart thermometer would be helpful. The answers will be recorded and given a certain point value. The final cumulative score determines the caller’s eligibility for receiving a thermometer.
A City resident or utility customer with a qualifying score will qualify for a thermometer, and be given the choice to pick-up the device at the drive-through window located at 50 Bridge Street, or the city will make arrangements to hand-deliver it to your home. Someone with a qualifying score who is not a city resident or utility customer will be placed on a waitlist and be eligible for next wave of distribution.
Those with a non-qualifying score can purchase a thermometer at a retail store or online. Whether the city provides the thermometer, or it is purchased privately, any registered device is automatically included in this project network. Questions may be directed to the Communications Office at 904-825-1053 or emailed to [email protected].
APRIL 17, 2020
ST. JOHNS COUNTY PARTIAL BEACH REOPENING
St. Johns County beaches are now open from 6am to 12 noon seven days a week for uses that include physical activity and motion. Activities now permitted on St. Johns County Beaches include walking, running, exercise, surfing, biking, fishing, swimming, surfing, and other uses that require physical activity. As lifeguards may not be on duty, all swimming is at done at your own risk.
The grouping of persons, commercial activities, group sports, and activities that do not require motion, such as sunbathing, and sitting, or those otherwise not allowed by local, state, or federal law are not permitted. In addition, items not allowed on the beach include blankets, chairs, coolers, umbrellas, tents, and any item that promotes a stationary presence. Beach visitors must continue to adhere to CDC social distancing guidelines, including limiting gatherings to no more than ten persons and distancing themselves from other parties by a minimum of six feet. All public parking lots are now open; however on-beach driving remains prohibited.
APRIL 15, 2020
ST. JOHNS COUNTY ASSISTANCE HOTLINES
During these unprecedented times, St. Johns County is supporting residents and local businesses impacted by COVID-19 with an unparalleled level of additional resources and programs. St. Johns County residents and businesses who have been affected by COVID-19 now have a consolidated source of information regarding available programs, funding, and recovery assistance through dedicated individual and business assistance hotlines.
SJC COVID-19 Resident Assistance Hotline – 904.209.1250 The St. Johns County COVID-19 Resident Assistance Hotline, 904.209.1250, is open from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., Monday through Friday. Resident Assistance Inquiries may also be submitted to [email protected] Our specialists are available to provide information regarding federal assistance, State of Florida Reemployment Assistance, local programs, non-profit agencies, and other resources. St. Johns County residents, including those in the City of St. Augustine and the City of St. Augustine Beach, who have been negatively impacted by COVID-19 may also qualify for disaster relief funding. Under the Florida State Housing Initiative Partnership Program (SHIP), residents may be eligible to receive assistance with some of the following costs:
- Temporary mortgage payment for homeowners financially impacted by COVID-19.
- Temporary rent payments for tenants financially impacted by COVID-19.
- Temporary utility payments for tenants financially impacted by COVID-19.
- Utility late fees and disconnections for residents financially impacted by COVID-19.
SJC COVID-19 Business Assistance Hotline – 904.209.6050 The St. Johns County COVID-19 Business Assistance Hotline, 904.209.6050, is open from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., Monday through Friday, to help local businesses obtain information about Federal, State, and local funding, tax incentives, and resources designed to assist during the COVID-19 health emergency. Business Assistance Inquiries may also be submitted to [email protected] Our specialists are available to assist local businesses navigate State and Federal economic recovery programs for businesses directly impacted by COVID-19 and will provide the following services:
- Assist businesses in navigating available Federal and State programs, including:
o Federal Paycheck Protection Program Loans (PPP)
o SBA Economic Injury Disaster Loans (EIDL)
o SBA Small Business Debt Relief Program
o Small Business Tax Provisions
o Other relevant programs
- Assess and track economic impact and damages to local business and tourism industries.
- Evaluate potential gaps between available resources and unmet needs.
- Explore additional resources to support local businesses recovery.
We appreciate your trust in the St. Johns County COVID-19 Recovery Assistance Team. For more information regarding Resident assistance, please call 904.209.1250. Information regarding Business assistance can be obtained by calling 904.209.6050. For all other COVID-19 questions, please call the Emergency Operations Center COVID- 19 hotline at 904.824.5550.
APRIL 14, 2020
REPORTING VACATION RENTAL VIOLATIONS
State of Florida Executive Order 20-87 suspends the rental of vacation rental properties through April 30. In addition, vacation rentals are prohibited from making new reservations or bookings and shall not accept new guests for check-in for the duration of this order.
To submit a vacation rental violation, please call St. Johns County Code Enforcement at 904.209.0734 or email [email protected]. Violations may also be submitted to the Department of Business and Professional Regulation at 850.487.1395 or by filling out an online form at www.myfloridalicense.com/DBPR/eo-complaints. For all other COVID-19 related questions, please call the Emergency Operations Center COVID-19 hotline at 904.824.5550.
APRIL 9, 2020
ST. JOHNS COUNTY COVID-19 TESTING SITES
Flagler Health+ has established an outdoor test collection site for patients who have a physician order for COVID-19 testing and have pre-registered through the system. The drive through process takes about three minutes. Test results are taking at least 4-5 days on average. Tests results are communicated back to the patient’s primary care doctor who notifies the patient of the results. Positive results are also reported to the Department of Health.
Flagler Health+ is also offering a reduced rate of $25 for people to see a doctor online who may not have a primary care doctor. The online doctor will determine if they need to be tested or not based on their symptoms and an algorithm. The online doctor can also prescribe medications for certain other diagnoses. For additional information visit www.flaglerhospital.org.
St. Johns County Department of Heath
The Florida Department of Health in St. Johns County, as part of disease control investigations, is collecting specimens for COVID-19 laboratory testing. As part of disease investigations, specimen collection is by appointment only for those individuals who meet the CDC criteria for testing. The Florida Department of Health in St. Johns County is located in the St. Johns County Health and Human Services Building, 200 San Sebastian View, Saint Augustine, FL 32084.
For more information about COVID-19 and testing, the Florida Department of Health in St. Johns County’s COVID-19 Call Center is open seven days a week from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. and can be reached at 904.209.3250.
Avecina Medical-Julington Creek
The Avecina Medical – Julington Creek facility located at 1633 Race Track Rd, St Johns, FL, is open to the public from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m., Monday through Friday, and from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., Saturday and Sunday, as a COVID-19 collection site. Collection is being treated as an urgent care doctor’s visit and clients must bring a photo ID and insurance card. The collection facility has a tent prepared outside and have requested that visitors wait in their cars for paperwork to be brought to them by a staff member. For additional information, please call 904.230.6988 or visit www.avecina.com/our-services/urgent-care/.
TIAA Bank Field Federal Testing Site, Open to St. Johns County Residents
Open to St. Johns County residents, the federally-sponsored drive-thru COVID-19 testing site at TIAA Bank Field in parking lot J. All ages are accepted, although patients must still meet certain guidelines. These include:
- On-site temperature of 99.6 or higher.
- Patient MUST ALSO have respiratory symptoms.
- First responders and healthcare workers who have direct contact with patients will also be tested, regardless of symptoms.
- Please bring work ID.
This site will operate from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. seven days a week, for as long as supplies last. While a doctor’s order and appointment are not required at this location, clients will be evaluated by a medical professional on site. Patients who do not meet the criteria will not receive a test and will be sent home. Those attempting to be tested should:
- Bring their own pen.
- Photo Identification.
- Refrain from taking any fever-reducing medicine four to six hours before testing.
- Remain inside of vehicle at all times.
A maximum of four people per car will be screened and tested; each person must be sitting at a functioning window. Additional passengers will be asked to move to the back of the line or return the following day. As long lines are expected, please follow the directions of Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office traffic officers. Drivers coming from the west side of town should use Bay Street. Drivers coming from the east side should use Gator Bowl Boulevard. Public restrooms will not be available. American Sign Language and Spanish-language interpreters will be on-site to assist. For questions regarding federal testing sites please call the Toll Free Call Center at 1.877.696.6775.
APRIL 8, 2020
GARBAGE AND LANDFILL GUIDELINES
Due to the impacts of COVID-19, St. Johns County Solid Waste has established the following guidelines regarding garbage pickup and landfill drop-off:
- Please place any items that can be picked up curbside instead of bringing it into the landfill.
- If items cannot be picked up curbside, but it is not a priority to dispose of them, please wait until the “stay at home” requirements have been lifted.
- If any items must be brought into the transfer station, please be prepared to wait to dump as County staff will be practicing safe social distances. The landfill and the drop-off dumpsters will be limited to three customers at a time.
APRIL 3, 2020
SUNSHINE BUS SUSPENDS NORMAL SERVICES
Due to recent Executive Orders issued by Governor Ron DeSantis mandating that senior citizens and all individuals must remain inside their homes except for essential activities, the Sunshine Bus Company is suspending their normal services effective immediately through April 30th.
For those Sunshine Bus riders who require transportation in order to obtain or provide essential services or to conduct essential activities including transportation to essential work, medical appointments, pharmacies and grocery stores, we will continue to provide trips to essential destinations through our door-to-door Paratransit services. Note: Only trips deemed essential will be permissible at this time.
To register and arrange for transportation services, please:
- Call either 904-209-3716 or 904-209-3710 to reach Customer Service. We will continue normal Sunshine Bus service hours, Monday – Friday from 8:30 am – 5pm, and Saturday from 6:00am to 8:00pm.
- Inform us that you would like to register for essential services because you are unable to use the Sunshine Bus.
- If you are not already registered in our system, you will be required to provide the following information:
- First and Last Name
- Date of Birth (DOB)
- Home address
- Contact number
- Mobility aids
- If you have purchased a Pass from the Sunshine Bus already, please inform us so we can waive the on-board fare. Note: the driver will utilize the same process to verify passes as they do for normal Sunshine Bus rides.
- We will inform you about the available drop-off and pick-up times for your zip code, and confirm the trip(s) with you.
APRIL 2, 2020
ST. JOHNS COUNTY COVID-19 UPDATE AND CLOSURE EXTENSION
In response to the impacts of COVID-19 in our community, St. Johns County is taking additional measures to ensure the health, safety, and welfare of our community. The following policies, procedures, and actions will remain in effect through Friday, May 1, 2020:
Safer at Home Executive Order 20-91
Governor Ron DeSantis issued an Executive Order on April 1, 2020, to support the President’s direction for the country to take 30 days to slow the spread of COVID-19. Effective through April 30, 2020, Florida Executive Order 20-91 states:
- Senior citizens and individuals with a significant underlying medical condition (such as chronic lung disease, moderate-to-severe asthma, serious heart conditions, immunocompromised status, cancer, diabetes, severe obesity, renal failure and liver disease) shall stay at home and take all measures to limit the risk of exposure to COVID-19.
- In concert with the efforts of President Trump and the White House Coronavirus Task Force to fight COVID-19, and based on guidance provided by Florida Surgeon General and State Health Officer, Dr. Scott Rivkees, all persons in Florida shall limit their movements and personal interactions outside of their home to only those necessary to obtain or provide essential services or conduct essential activities.
St. Johns County will work in collaboration with the City of St. Augustine, the City of St. Augustine Beach, and our local law enforcement officials in the coming weeks to educate and inform our community on the Governor’s Safer at Home order. A list of essential services, as defined by the Governor, is available at www.sjcfl.us/coronavirus. For more information regarding the Governor’s Safer at Home order, please call the St. Johns County Emergency Operations Center hotline at 904.824.5550.
COVID-19 Closure and Cancellation Extensions
In response to the Governor’s Safer at Home order, St. Johns County, the City of St. Augustine, and the City of St. Augustine Beach have all extended facility closures and program cancellations associated with COVID-19 through Friday, May 1, 2020. The closure extension applies to the St. Augustine Amphitheatre, the Ponte Vedra Concert Hall, all St. Johns County public libraries, recreational programming, recreational facilities, and the beaches. For additional information regarding this Emergency Order, please call the St. Johns County Emergency Operations Center hotline at 904.824.5550 or visit www.sjcfl.us/coronavirus.
Vacation Rentals State of Florida Executive Order 20-87 and County Emergency Order
In accordance with State of Florida Executive Order 20-87, St. Johns County has issued an Emergency Order suspending the rental of vacation rental properties and rental operations. Such parties are also prohibited from making new reservations or bookings and shall not accept new guests for check-in through May 1. The prohibition includes the rental of any house, condominium, cooperative, or dwelling unit which is rented for periods of less than 30 days or one calendar month. The directive does not include hotels, motels, inns, resorts, time share projects, or long-term rentals. For additional information regarding this Emergency Order, please call the St. Johns County Emergency Operations Center hotline at 904.824.5550 or visit www.sjcfl.us/coronavirus.
St. Johns County will continue to evaluate and adapt all policies and practices, in partnership with the City of St. Augustine, the City of St. Augustine Beach, and all law enforcement agencies, in order to appropriately respond to COVID-19. For more information, please call the St. Johns County Emergency Operations Center COVID-19 Hotline at 904.824.5550 or visit www.sjcfl.us/coronavirus.
ST. JOHNS COUNTY TAX COLLECTOR’S OFFICE CLOSED
In compliance with Governor DeSantis’s Executive Order 20-91, all St. Johns County Tax Collector offices will be closed to the public until further notice, effective 5 p.m. on Thursday, April 2. The Tax Collector encourages residents to complete eligible transactions online at www.sjctax.us. Most tax payments, registration renewals, and driver license renewals and replacements can be processed online or by mail. The Tax Collector also offers a drop box at each location and will be available by phone at 904.209.2250 or email at [email protected]
APRIL 1, 2020
GOVERNOR ISSUES STAY-AT-HOME ORDER FOR FLORIDA
Governor Ron DeSantis has issued a new executive order requesting all Floridians to stay at home. In a news conference Wednesday afternoon, the governor said the new order will allow for only necessary movements. The order goes into effect Thursday night at midnight.
MARCH 28, 2020
ST. JOHNS COUNTY BEACHES CLOSED TO PUBLIC ACCESS
In order to protect public health, safety, and welfare and maximize compliance with State of Florida Executive Order 20-68, all public beaches in St. Johns County are closed to public access under the local state of emergency, effective 6am on Sunday, March 29, and will remain closed until further notice.
“We have taken as many measures as possible up to this point to preserve our residents’ ability to access their beach. Unfortunately, those visiting the beach continue to ignore CDC guidelines regarding crowd size and personal distancing. In order to maintain public safety and respect the State of Florida’s Executive Order, we had no choice but to close the coastline to public access today,” said Hunter S. Conrad, St. Johns County Administrator. “We will continue to be methodical in our approach to closings related to COVID-19, and like every decision we have made to this point, we will open the beaches at the appropriate time when it is safe to do so.”
The determination to close all public beaches is based upon a recommendation to reduce health risks associated with COVID-19 and beach overcrowding by the St. Johns County Sheriff’s Office, the St. Augustine Beach Police Department, the City of St. Augustine, the City of St. Augustine Beach, St. Johns County Emergency Management, and local health officials. All boat ramps, parks, green spaces, and trails remain open for the public to safely enjoy. For more information, please call the St. Johns County Emergency Management hotline at 904.824.5550.
MARCH 25, 2020
RESTRICTIONS AND GUIDELINES EXTENDED THROUGH MAY 8
The City of St. Augustine has executed Administrative Order 2020-06, to extend current restrictions and guidelines through May 8, 2020, which is consistent with the Governor’s Executive Orders. This includes the following:
- All permitted events, festivals, and large gatherings are cancelled;
- All public meetings, including City Commission, Code Enforcement Adjustments and Appeals Board, Historic Architectural Review Board, and Planning and Zoning Board, except for emergency meetings as needed, are cancelled;
- All non-essential meetings that do not address the immediate operations and function of municipal business are cancelled;
- The Governor’s Emergency Order 20-71 prohibits all on-site consumption of food or alcohol by vendors and licensed establishments;
- The Visitor Information Center is closed, and all City-managed on-street and off-street parking is suspended;
- All parking meters, payment kiosks, and mobile parking app (ParkStAug) will not accept payments;
- Termination of water service for non-payment will be suspended;
- City Hall offices are closed to the public;
- For the duration of time while City offices are closed to public access, convenience fees for payment will be waived.
WSOS ST. JOHNS COUNTY TODAY COVID-19 UPDATES
St. Johns County has partnered with WSOS 99.5 FM/1170 AM to host St. Johns County Today COVID-19 Updates at 8:30 a.m. every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday. Co-hosted by Michael Ryan, St. Johns County Director of Communications, and WSOS’s Kevin Geddings, the show covers a variety of topics related to the COVID-19 health emergency in St. Johns County. The radio show will also feature representatives from partner agencies directly involved with the COVID-19 response, including public safety, fire rescue, and emergency management. The public may submit questions in advance or during the show by visiting the WSOS Facebook page or by emailing them directly to [email protected].
LATE FEE AND SERVICE DISCONNECTION SUSPENSION
The St. Johns County Utility Department is suspending late fees on utility bills, effective immediately, in an attempt to ease financial strain on families and businesses impacted by COVID-19. In addition, the Utility Department will not disconnect services on accounts with an outstanding balance. These measures are in effect until further notice. Customers with past-due balances that predate the current health emergency are still expected to pay for their services. For more information, please call 904.209.2700 or visit www.sjcfl.us/utilities/.
MARCH 23, 2020
ADDITIONAL ST. JOHNS COUNTY RESPONSE MEASURES
In response to the impacts of COVID-19 in our community, St. Johns County is taking additional measures to ensure the health, safety, and welfare of our residents, visitors, and workforce. Effective Monday, March 23, the following policies, procedures, and actions will remain in effect until further notice:
- Public Meeting Procedures – In accordance with State of Florida Executive Order 20-69, local government and public meetings do not require a quorum to be present in person or meet in a specific public place. In addition, communications media technology, such as telephonic and video conferencing, may be utilized to conduct public meetings. The order does not suspend any other requirement under the Florida Constitution or “Florida’s Government in the Sunshine Laws”.
- Limited Public Building Access – All St. Johns County facilities are operating under limited public access restrictions. In an effort to reduce the size of public gatherings and maintain the CDC recommended minimum distance of six feet between parties, each facility will implement individual guidelines relative to their specific building clientele and services. Measures could include the closure of public lobbies, the encouragement of online business practices, and the reduction of building occupancy.
- COVID-19 Closure and Cancellation Extensions – All current St. Johns County facility closures and program cancellations associated with COVID-19 are extended through April 17. The closure extension applies to the St. Augustine Amphitheatre, the Ponte Vedra Concert Hall, all St. Johns County public libraries, and recreational programming and facilities.
MARCH 22, 2020
ST. JOHNS COUNTY CLOSES PUBLIC BEACH PARKING LOTS
In order to maximize compliance with State of Florida Executive Order 20-68, all public beach parking lots in St Johns County are closed under the local state of emergency, effective 6am on Monday, March 23 and will remain closed until further notice. The determination to close all public beach parking lots is based upon a recommendation to reduce health risks associated with COVID-19 and beach overcrowding by the St Johns County Sheriff’s Office, the St Augustine Beach Police Department, St Johns County Emergency Management, and local health officials. While pedestrian access to St Johns County beaches remains accessible, please limit gatherings to no more than 10 persons and maintain a minimum distance of six feet between other parties in compliance with CDC guidelines. Vehicular access to all St Johns County beaches remains prohibited until further notice.
MARCH 20, 2020
GOVERNOR DESANTIS SUSPENDS ON PREMISE SERVICE FOR RESTAURANTS AND ORDERS THE CLOSURE OF GYMS/FITNESS CENTERS
The St. Johns County government shared the Executive Order of Governor DeSantis regarding alcohol sales, restaurants, and gyms –
All vendors licensed to sell alcoholic beverages for consumption on the premises must suspend the sale of alcoholic beverages by the drink or in sealed containers for consumption on the premises. Such vendors may continue to sell alcoholic beverages in sealed containers for consumption off premises.
I hereby order all restaurants and food establishments licensed under Chapters 500 and 509, Florida Statues, within the State of Florida to suspend on-premises food consumption for customers. Notwithstanding the foregoing, such establishments may operate their kitchens for the purpose of providing delivery or take-out services. Employees, janitorial personnel, contractors and delivery personnel shall be allowed access to such establishments for the purposes of delivery or take-out services.
I hereby order the closure of gymnasiums and fitness centers within the State of Florida. This order shall not apply to gymnasiums and fitness centers which are: (i) amenities of hotels which have a capacity of 10 persons or less, (ii) are an amenity of a residential building, (iii) are interior to any fire or police stations or (iv) are located inside any single-occupant office building.
CITY OFFICES CLOSED TO THE PUBLIC
In light of the current pandemic situation, City of St. Augustine offices will be closed to the public beginning Monday, March 23, 2020. This closure will not prevent customers from conducting all necessary City business. Offices will operate and implement the following:
- Customer Service/Utility Billing: The Customer Service office located at 50 Bridge Street will continue to serve the public by taking payments and answering questions over the phone, via email, via the payment drop box and with limited operations at the drive-thru window. The office can be reached at 904-825-1037 and [email protected]. Payments can be made online by visiting https://www.citystaug.com/453/Customer-Service.
- Parking: The Parking office located at 50 Bridge Street will continue to serve the public by taking payments and answering questions via email and over the phone. The office can be reached at 904-825-1037 and [email protected].
- Planning & Building: The Planning & Building office located at 75 King Street, Lobby B will continue to serve the public by taking payments, accepting plans and answering questions via email and over the phone. The office can be reached at 904-825-1065 and [email protected].
- Public Works: The Public Works office located at 75 King Street, Lobby B will continue to serve the public by taking payments, accepting plans and answering questions via email and over the phone. The office can be reached at 904-825-1040 and [email protected].
- City Clerk: The City Clerk’s office located at 75 King Street, Lobby B will continue to serve the public by answering questions via email and over the phone. The office can be reached at 904-825-1007 and [email protected].
- Human Resources: The Human Resources office located at 75 King Street, Lobby D will continue to serve the public by answering questions via email and over the phone. We are currently not accepting applications, but applicants are encouraged to check the City’s website for changes and open positions. The office can be reached at 904-825-1013 and [email protected].
- City Attorney: The City Attorney’s office located at 75 King Street, Lobby A will continue to serve the public by answering questions via email and over the phone. The office can be reached at 904-825-1052 and [email protected].
- City Manager: The City Manager’s office located at 75 King Street, Lobby A will continue to serve the public by answering questions via email and over the phone. The office can be reached at 904-825-1006 and [email protected].
- Purchasing: The Purchasing office located at 75 King Street, Lobby B will continue to serve the public by answering questions via email and over the phone. The office can be reached at 904-825-1010 and [email protected].
BEACHES CLOSED TO VEHICULAR ACCESS
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 will be prohibited beginning Saturday, March 21. Executive Order 20-68 states that individuals accessing public beaches are to follow CDC guidance by limiting gatherings to no more than 10 persons and distance themselves from other parties by six feet.
SOLID WASTE COLLECTIONS REMAIN ON SCHEDULE
The City of St. Augustine Solid Waste collections will continue normal operations. Pickup of residential and commercial trash, recycling, and yard debris remains on schedule. Along with the theme of cleanliness, the City would like to remind potentially toilet paper-strapped residents that their toilets are not trash cans. Flushing items other than toilet paper and human waste can cause clogs and back-ups, potentially increasing the spread of germs and the malfunction of the city’s wastewater treatment operations. Many products are considered “flushable” or may seem harmless to flush, like paper towels, but these items do not break up like toilet paper and should not be allowed down any toilet or drain.
PARKING FEE SUSPENSION, VISITORS CENTER CLOSURE
In response to these growing concerns, the City has issued Administrative Order 2020-04, which calls for the suspension of parking fees and closure of the Visitor Information Center (VIC). Per the order, City-managed on-street and off-street parking will not be enforced. As a result, parking meters, payment kiosks, and the ParkStAug mobile parking app will not accept payments. These meters and kiosks act as “touch points” which may hold germs, and the City’s goal is to assist in prevention of COVID-19 by limiting the opportunity for the public to come into contact with the disease. The Historic Downtown Parking Facility, located adjacent to the Visitor Information Center (VIC), will continue normal operations and will be collecting posted parking fees. The VIC, located at 10 San Marco Avenue, is temporarily closed, until Friday, April 3. However, the public bathrooms will remain open and their cleaning schedule will be enhanced.
MARCH 19, 2020
The St. Johns County Board of County Commissioners declared a Local State of Emergency in response to COVID-19 on March 17. In response, the St Johns County Emergency Operations Center has been elevated to a level two partial activation and the COVID-19 Citizens Information Hotline is now active between 8am to 6pm, 7 days a week. St Johns County residents can call the hotline at (904) 824-5550 for information regarding facility closures, program cancellations, and current St Johns County COVID-19 guidelines.
SUNSHINE BUS COMPANY SOCIAL DISTANCING
In accordance with the Center for Disease Control’s (CDC) recommendations for restricting public gatherings during the COVID-19 outbreak, the Sunshine Bus Company is implementing a Social Distancing Policy restricting the number of occupants to 10 per vehicle, including the driver, and requiring patrons to maintain a six-foot distance from other passengers. To sustain transportation services during this time, drivers have been instructed to call dispatch when nine passengers have boarded their vehicle to ensure that another vehicle will be dispatched for additional passengers.
MARCH 17, 2020
ST. JOHNS COUNTY DECLARES LOCAL STATE OF EMERGENCY
In response to the COVID-19 disease, the St. Johns County Board of County Commissioners declared a Local State of Emergency on March 17, 2020. The declaration allows the County to access the resources necessary to prepare for, and respond to, the potential impacts of COVID-19 disease within the community. In addition, St. Johns County elevated the Emergency Operations Center with a level two partial activation to assist in the response.
The Local State of Emergency declaration allows St. Johns County to take actions necessary to effectively respond to emergency conditions and mitigate disaster effects in an expedited manner through the acquisition of equipment, the securing of contracts, and qualification for FEMA reimbursement. The Board of County Commissioners, St. Johns County Administration, and Emergency Management Staff are responding to the development of COVID-19 within the United States, the state of Florida, and St. Johns County, following recommended CDC guidelines, and preparing accordingly.
GOVERNOR SUSPENDS BARS AND NIGHTCLUBS
Gov. Ron DeSantis is suspending all bars and nightclubs in Florida for the next 30 days starting at 5pm Tuesday night. Restaurants must also limit their seating capacity to 50 percent. All restaurant employees must also be screened for the virus. State officials are encouraging people to utilize takeout and delivery at local restaurants in lieu of dining in.
PUBLIC MEETING CANCELLATIONS
Based on the recommendations of the Governor’s office the City of St. Augustine has executed an administrative order authorizing the cancellation of all public meetings through April 1, 2020, which includes:
- City Commission, with the exception of emergency meetings, as needed
- Code Enforcement, Adjustments and Appeals Board
- Historic Architectural Review Board
- Planning and Zoning Board
MARCH 16, 2020
UPDATE FROM THE CITY
As the threat of Coronavirus (COVID-19) incidents impact our community, the City of St. Augustine is continuing its efforts to curb the threat of the spread of Coronavirus by cancelling all non-essential meetings that do not address the immediate operations and function of municipal business. The City Commission, Historic Architectural Review Board, Planning & Zoning Board, and Code Enforcement, Adjustments and Appeals Board meetings will be limited to permissible attendance numbers in accordance with the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) guidelines.
At this time, all other workshops and non-essential meetings will be cancelled until further notice, this includes but is not limited to the Planning & Zoning Workshop regarding parking requirements, the Street Tree Advisory Committee, and Lincolnville Community Redevelopment Area Steering Committee.
In accordance with Florida Sunshine Law and observing best practices of social distancing, The Alcazar Room will be open to the public but limited to an occupancy load of less than 50 people and the overflow space will be made available, also in compliance of CDC recommendations. Anyone who wishes to attend in person will be allowed until the occupancy limit is reached.
The following decisions go into effect immediately:
- The City Commission agenda will be limited to only those items essential to city business. Items that are not time-sensitive may be postponed.
- In regards to public comment, and in lieu of physical attendance, the city encourages individuals to submit comments via email to [email protected] which will subsequently be read into the public record.
- For those organizations receiving a recognition and/or proclamation from the City Commission, the city is requesting representation by one attendee.
- The city has also determined that non-essential staff will not attend public meetings in person, but will monitor meetings online through the city’s website at www.CityStAugTV.com.
- In compliance with best practices of social distancing, city staff will be minimizing person-to-person contact by holding meetings through teleconference and online virtual meetings.
- Until April 1, 2020, to ease the burden of past due balances for utilities, the city will not shut off water service.
- Customers who wish to submit permit applications or pickup approved permits should not appear in person, but instead correspond via email to [email protected] for Planning & Building permits, and [email protected] for Public Works permits.
- Customers who wish to make payments for utilities or permits, should not appear in person, but instead call to make payment arrangements over the phone:
Customer Service (utility billing): 904.825.1037
Planning & Building (building permits, business licenses): 904.825.1065, ext. 2
Public Works (right-of-way and site construction permits): 904.825.1040, ext. 6
ST. JOHNS COUNTY GARBAGE, RECYCLING, YARD DEBRIS
St. Johns County’s garbage, recycling, and yard debris collection schedule will not change due to any COVID-19 related closures during the week of March 16. All collections will continue as scheduled on standard collection days. The Tillman Ridge and Stratton Road solid waste scale houses will remain open during standard business hours. For more information, please call 904.827.6980.
MARCH 13, 2020
In response to Public Health Emergency 20-15 (COVID), St. Augustine City Manager John Regan announced actions being taken to assist City utility customers. If a customer needs special assistance with utility bills during this time, please reach out to our Customer Service Department to create a solution that works for you. Please call at 904.825.1037 or email at [email protected]
MARCH 12, 2020
The Florida Department of Health reported the first confirmed case of Coronavirus Disease (COVID-19) in St. Johns County on Wednesday, March 12. The travel-related case involves a 63-year-old, male, New York resident who was quarantined and remains isolated until cleared by public health officials. The County urges residents to continue to follow basic infection prevention guidelines including washing hands often, avoiding contact with sick people, cleaning high-touch surfaces, and staying home when sick. For additional Coronavirus Disease (COVID-19) information, residents are encourage to utilize the following informational tools:
- Florida Department of Health COVID-19 Call Center – 1.866.779.6121
- St. Johns County Department of Health – 904.209.3250
- Florida Department of Health – www.floridahealth.gov/diseases-and-conditions/COVID-19
- Centers for Disease Control – www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/index.html
- Florida Department of Health Email – [email protected]
Early voting will continue from 9am to 6pm on March 13 and 14 at all six early voting locations. All polling places will be open from 7am to 7pm on Election Day, Tuesday, March 17. Hand sanitizer and disinfecting wipes will be provided at all voting locations for workers and voters.
Featured image via the City of St. Augustine