Proposal would require permit for late night alcohol sales in St. Augustine

ST. AUGUSTINE, Fla. – A proposal aimed at keeping people safe in downtown St. Augustine was introduced during a city commission meeting Monday night.

The plan, introduced by John Regan, St. Augustine's city manager, would require bars and restaurants that sell alcohol after a certain hour to have a special permit.

Regan believes the proposal is necessary to prevent crimes.

"We've had an increase in the number of bars and restaurants supporting late night dining and, so, we've had an uptick in crimes that are associated to alcohol," Regan said.

The proposal calls for more officers patrolling downtown, cleaning the streets, adding more lighting, adding safer locations for ride sharing services and an alcohol ordinance. 

Regan said crimes like battery, DUI and disorderly conduct stem from alcohol sales. Jayson Befort, the general manager of No Name Bar, feels that's not the case.

"You can't control a human. You can control what you give them because it's our property," Befort said. "We can control if they've been over served and diagnose that and ask them to leave or give them assistance."

Regan has proposed an extended hour permit for businesses that serve alcohol.

"The alcohol ordinance would have an extended hour permit where we could put specific conditions on bars and restaurants who serve alcohol after a designated time, say, 11 p.m. or midnight," Regan said.

"I'd like to see a 1:30 (a.m.) end of alcohol sales and then a timely manner of when people can finish their drinks and leave safely," Befort said.

Regan feels bars should have more training for how to serve customers to ensure they're not being over served.

Befort feels a larger police presence is needed to keep people safe downtown at night, which is one of the components mentioned in the plan.

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