Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis ordered Tuesday that all bars and nightclubs close for the next 30 days to help stop the spread of coronavirus. The city of St. Augustine is taking that a step further by banning alcohol sales at restaurants.
Restaurants can remain open throughout the state but they have to screen employees for COVID-19 symptoms, keep dining room capacity below 50%, and keep tables at least six feet apart.
"One of the things that we are doing that is unique to St. Augustine is that because in our community many of the establishments that people consider to be bars are technically classified as restaurants under state and local law," said City Manager John Regan.
According to Regan, this is why the city has decided to impose additional restrictions, prohibiting alcohol consumption at restaurants for the next 30 days.
"Bars and restaurants by their very nature are intended to bring people together to socialize in close proximity to one another, which is a direct conflict to the definition of social distancing," Regan said. "This decision made by the city offers a clear and direct message to the community that we must do our part to flatten the curve of coronavirus."
Trolly and train tours in St. Augustine will also be halted for the next 15 days.
All city operations are still in effect, though employees are practicing social distancing.
City parks in St. Augustine will remain open.