ST. AUGUSTINE, Fla. – Construction and repairs in historic downtown St. Augustine this week have been keeping customers away, according to businesses.
City officials said Wednesday that Hypolita Street, from Avenida Menendez to St. George Street, was closed to vehicles due to emergency repairs to a natural gas line.
The street remains open to pedestrians, and shops along the street are also able to keep their doors open. But employees told News4Jax on Wednesday that the repair work was hurting business.
Cousteau's Waffle and Milkshake Bar on Hypolita Street is typically crowded with customers in the summer. Employee Hannah Einheuser said that hasn't been the case as crews repair the natural gas line.
"We have been slow for multiple hours in a row. This is our first big rush that we've had so far and we've only had maybe two or three orders," Einheuser said Wednesday. "They have to tear up all the concrete and bricks to get down to the pipes to fix it.”
During the day, people were spotted either walking around the construction or avoiding it altogether.
City officials said the gas line repairs are expected to be completed and the street reopened by the end of Friday.
"I hope that it's cleared up sooner than later so we can get business back and going," Einheuser said.
The gas line repairs weren't the first disruption for tourists in the ancient city's historic district.
Last week, Aviles Street -- in the heart of old St. Augustine, just feet away from the Plaza de la Constitucion -- was closed because of a crumbling historic building.
Additionally, according to city officials, there is no parking on King Street from St. George Street to Charlotte Street from 8 p.m. to 5 a.m. until Saturday.