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Nights of Lights gets green light for earlier start date

The St. Augustine City Commission passed a resolution allowing for Nights of Lights to begin early this year, on Nov. 14.

ST. AUGUSTINE, Fla. — The annual tradition that lights up the night sky in the Ancient City will begin even earlier this year, according to the City of St. Augustine.

The St. Augustine City Commission passed a resolution allowing for Nights of Lights to begin early, on Nov. 14, the city tweeted Friday afternoon. Normally, the annual holiday light tradition starts the Saturday before Thanksgiving and ends on Jan. 31.

The event which brings 3 million twinkling lights to town will see some changes this year, due to the need to comply with guidelines from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on limiting the spread of COVID-19. The city canceled the big celebration in the plaza the first night and will not provide satellite parking lots or shuttle buses.

Melissa Wissel, spokesperson for the City of St. Augustine said, "We are talking to some of the community stakeholders to see if there are some options of alternative overflow parking."

Dave Chatterton, general manager of Old Town Trolleys in St. Augustine, said he studied what Walt Disney World, SeaWorld and Universal have done with their rides, queue lines and employees in order to slow the spread of the novel coronavirus. Chatterton is now applying some of those techniques to his trolleys on a daily basis, and he plans to have them in place for Nights of Lights as well.

That includes things like having all rides sold via reservations, installing plexiglass shields between each row of seating and offering hand sanitizer before each passenger boards the trolley.

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