St. Augustine businesses, tourism take a hit from Hurricane Matthew

Ancient city's biggest attractions shut down
Posted at 6:57 PM, Oct 10, 2016
and last updated 2016-10-11 01:54:09-04

Life is starting to breathe back into the oldest city in America, following Hurricane Matthew. The Ancient City woefully living up to its name. 

"It's really sad, it's really sad to see the town torn up like this," said Mary Urzuioli. She's owned her bay-front cafe for 30-years. Right now, it's shut down with no business, no money and thousands of dollars in repairs.

Last week, Hurricane Matthew battered the area. Historical sites like the Casablanca Inn were left in ruin and caution tape.

"I had a good two feet of water coming in...completely submerged," said Urzuioli.

Instead of serving food, employees are helping to clear out the water and debris.

“This business pays the mortgage for a lot of different people," she said.

Hotels and other huge tourist attractions, like the Fountain of Youth, closed down. A few tourists could be seen walking and taking in the devastated town. These businesses heavily relying on them. 

“We’ve got to get the tourists back in but we can’t get the tourists back in until the hotel is up and running," said Urzuioli.

Others, however, in the hardest hit area are up and running.

"I praise God," said Doug Stenroos. He's the owner of Sheriff's Ghost Walking Tours. His office, untouched. 

A hit and miss as those that went unscathed help out their less fortunate neighbors. One thing is for sure, it may be the Ancient City but its people have their eyes strictly set on the future.

“They’re going to rebuild and St. Augustine is going to be as pretty as it was before the storm ever came here," he said.

Most of the owners for the businesses hardest hit vow to be back up and running within the week.

President & Chief Executive Officer of St. Augustine, Ponte Vedra & The Beaches, Visitors & Convention Bureau speaking about the damage:

"Florida’s Historic Coast has earned its name for enduring the test of time for more than 450 years. Our destination is cleaning up after withstanding the effects of hurricane Matthew. Some areas were hit harder than others. But St. Augustine, Ponte Vedra Beach, St. Augustine Beach, Vilano Beach and other parts of our community are now cleaning up. The dramatic images of the historic bay front in St. Augustine shot during the storm Friday didn’t capture the resilience of our people or our historic structures, many of which have seen far worse than Matthew threw at them."


Stores Open for Business-

Attractions and Restaurants:

Colonial Quarter

Oldest Wooden Schoolhouse

Oasis Restaurant

Sunset Grille

Guafre & Goodes restaurant

Columbia restaurant

Raintree restaurant

South Beach Grill

Gypsy Cab

Hyppo Popsicles

Pizza Time

Ann O'Malleys Pub

Carmelo's Pizzeria

Salt Life Seafood Shack

St. Augustine Lighthouse & Maritime Museum

City Bistro Tea House & Coffee Co

San Sebastian Winery


Hotels, Inns and Resorts:

Renaissance World Golf Village Resort

St. George Inn

St. Augustine Beach House

Cozy Inn

Casa Monica Hotel

Casa de Suenos

Hampton Inn Vilano Beach

Hilton Garden Inn Ponte Vedra Beach


Opening Tuesday are:

St. Augustine Distillery

Marriott Sawgrass Golf Resort and Spa

St Francis Inn