23Mar

With more than 312,000 people infected worldwide with the Covid-19 virus, many cities and counties have restricted access to parking or suspended ticketing and enforcement of parking violations.

After weeks of teens on spring break partying on Florida beaches, the Governor finally took action with State of Florida Executive Order 20-68. In response several Florida counties closed parking lots at public beaches. In northeast Florida, St Johns County and Jacksonville closed parking for all their public beaches starting March 23.

In Cocoa Beach, Florida the city installed new signs banning alcohol on the beach and closing beach parking amid the coronavirus pandemic. “We have to limit the contact between people as much as we can with the resources we have,” Cocoa Beach City Manager Jim McKnight said.

Across the US, several cities and states have suspended parking enforcement. Chicago chose to stop all debt collection, ticketing and impound practices through at least April 30 as the economic toll of the coronavirus continues to increase.  The city will work with the private company that owns Chicago’s meters to ensure ticketing only occurs if there’s something that poses a safety threat. An expired meter at a car that is otherwise legally parked will not result in a ticket. Though the city will lose the money it could make from ticketing in the short term, helping keep Chicagoans out of bankruptcy will be far better for Chicago in the long term, officials said.

At Charlotte Douglas International Airport, all but one parking lot will be closed — a change that reflects the sharp decline in airline traffic caused by the coronavirus.

San Francisco and San Jose chose to suspend parking enforcement during the coronavirus outbreak. San Jose on Tuesday said it was suspending parking citations and vehicle abatement across the city for the foreseeable future.

“Parking officers will not be ticketing for parking violations, or towing abandoned or illegally stored vehicles on city streets,” the Bay Area’s largest city said in a statement. “Vehicles parked in an unsafe manner will be referred to the San Jose Police Department.”

Parking garages in downtown San Jose will continue to operate — with limited staffing — so that people can access essential services, according to the city’s release.

San Francisco also implemented changes to its enforcement strategies. The city is temporarily suspending enforcement for violations of 72-hour parking limits and residential permit parking and peak-hour towaway zones.

Long Beach officials announced a new plan for residents Saturday, March 21, that will give free parking to residents while also allowing the city to continue street sweeping. To give residents some time to adjust to the new plan, officials also announced the city has extended the current suspension of street sweeping tickets. Normal street sweeping will resume Monday, March 30.

The Pittsburgh Parking Authority suspended parking enforcement and the city is taking other measures to further restrict face-to-face encounters between city workers and residents during the coronavirus outbreak.

In addition to suspending parking enforcement, the parking authority also is ending hand-to-hand transactions at its garages. Attendants and security will still be on hand for safety reasons.

California cities including Fresno, San Diego and Santa Monica will limit parking enforcement and issuance of citations to holiday or Sunday enforcement regulations. They have also suspended collection of citation fees.

These examples show the unexpected impact of the pandemic, not just for local businesses but also for the budgets of cities across the United States. Several of the cities changing their parking enforcement have specifically mentioned their goal of reducing financial burdens on residents during this health crisis.

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