KEYS TOURISM ADVISORY May 17 ● 4 p.m.
Florida Keys Officials Target June 1 to Begin Reopening to Visitors
Monroe County officials Sunday announced they are targeting Monday, June 1, to reopen the Florida Keys to visitors following the island chain’s closure to tourists March 22 to minimize the potential spread of COVID-19.
The easing of visitor restrictions is to coincide with the planned June 1 suspension of checkpoints on two roads leading from the South Florida mainland to the Keys.
Lodging is to be limited to 50 percent of standard occupancy during beginning stages of reopening.
Monroe County Mayor Heather Carruthers cautioned that timing plans to reopen the Keys to visitors could be hampered if there are significant increases in coronavirus cases in the Keys or on the South Florida mainland.
New coronavirus infections in Monroe County have been greatly reduced, health officials said, and the infection rate in Miami-Dade and Broward has eased, enabling officials in those counties to begin reopening businesses and public facilities.
Carruthers said that Keys lodging and other tourism-related businesses are preparing for a “new normal” to host visitors.
New disinfecting and social distancing guidelines, as well as mandatory wearing of face coverings for both visitors and tourism industry staff members, are to be initiated with input from the Florida Department of Health, Centers for Disease Control and the American Hotel and Lodging Association.
In the case of larger resorts and tourism-related businesses, corporate offices likely will help to establish procedures.
Carruthers said the county plans to enforce the health guidelines.
Per Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis’ Executive Order 20-123, Monroe County’s administrator is to submit a written request and safety plan to the Department of Business and Professional Regulation Secretary to seek approval for the operation of licensed Florida Keys vacation rentals.
Resources for COVID-19 Information:
AHLA Industry-Wide Hotel Cleaning Standards
LATEST NEWS April 30, 2020 ● 6:15pm
Keys to Follow Florida Governor’s First Steps to Recovery
Monroe County officials Thursday said they will follow Florida Governor Ron DeSantis’ recent directive that will relax restrictions on restaurants and most non-essential retail businesses.
The governor’s order allows retail businesses to operate at 25 percent of building capacity, but does not allow businesses to provide personal services, such as manicures or haircuts. Restaurants are to operate at 25 percent of indoor capacity. Outdoor seating capacity is not to be limited, as long as tables are 6 feet apart and seated parties are groups of 10 or less. According to the directive, bars and bar seating in restaurants must remained closed. Any business deriving more than 50 percent of its revenue from alcohol sales is considered a bar.
The new order is to take effect at 12:01 a.m. Monday, May 4.
Local officials in Key West and Marathon announced similar directives for their communities. Key West reopened city beaches earlier this week and Marathon opened its beaches Thursday.
The Florida Keys remain closed to visitors, officials said, adding that they do not expect the destination to reopen in May.
Checkpoints at mile marker 112.5 on U.S. 1 and State Road 905 will remain in place and health screenings continue at Key West International and Marathon Florida Keys airports.
The county will continue the directive to use facial coverings in public settings. Senior citizens and individuals with an underlying medical condition are still strongly encouraged to stay at home and take all measures to limit the risk of exposure to COVID-19.
MONROE COUNTY April 27, 2020 ● 5:10pm
The Florida Keys Remain Closed to Visitors, Checkpoints Remain in Place
Monroe County –Monroe County remains closed to visitors. In an effort to loosen protective measures, the City of Key West announced Monday they would be opening parks, beaches, and recreational facilities to RESIDENTS. The checkpoints on U.S. 1 at Mile Marker 112.5 and State Road 905 remain in effect. The entire State of Florida remains under a “Safer at Home” order.
Motorists who cannot prove they live or own property in the Florida Keys, or cannot prove they are performing essential work in the Florida Keys should not attempt to come through the checkpoints. Documentation to prove residency, homeownership, or essential work can be found at www.monroecountyem.com/covid19 under “checkpoint.”
KEYS TOURISM ADVISORY April 7, 2020 ● 7:30 p.m.
News and information from the Monroe County Tourist Development Council, based on information from the Monroe County Emergency Management and Florida Department of Health.
Monroe County Officials Issue Directives for Essential Businesses, Checkpoints and Airport Screenings
Monroe County officials Tuesday issued directives for essential businesses, Upper Keys roadway checkpoints and airport screenings to help prevent the spread of coronavirus.
All are to take effect Wednesday, April 8.
According to the directives:
• All essential businesses are mandated to deploy strategies to reduce COVID-19 spread. They include limiting capacity to 50 percent of maximum occupancy, and providing hand sanitizers and disinfecting wipes for use by customers and employees. All employees of grocery stores, pharmacies, food distribution points, hardware stores and other essential businesses where 10 or more people may be present shall be required to wear a form of covering over their nose and mouth at all times. Delivery service workers are required to wear face coverings as well. The county directive, that comes on the heels of a similar order in Key West, establishes minimum standards.
• Residents traveling southbound on the Overseas Highway will now be required to prove residency with an original Florida driver’s license or identification card showing the address of a property located in Monroe County. Also to be accepted at the roadway checkpoints are a hard-copy deed, lease, utility bill, tax bill or vehicle registration for a property located in Monroe County with a government-issued driver’s license or identification card with the same name. Other previous rules involving non-residents who have legitimate business in Monroe County apply. Hurricane re-entry stickers will no longer be accepted.
• At both Key West International Airport and Florida Keys Marathon International Airport, all people arriving by aircraft who deplane will be screened for COVID-19. Screenings are to be conducted by Monroe County Fire Rescue or the Monroe County Health Department. Each person screened shall isolate or quarantine for a period of 14 days or the duration of that person’s stay in the county, whichever is shorter.