Florida Keys officials announced they are targeting Monday, June 1, to reopen the 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. This is on two roads leading from the South Florida mainland to the Keys. In addition, there will be no passenger screenings at Key West International and Florida Keys Marathon International Airport.
There are much fewer COVID infections in the Florida Keys and Monroe County, health officials said. The infection rate in Miami-Dade and Broward has also eased. This enabled leaders in those counties to begin reopening businesses and public facilities. Those were keys factors that led to the determination of a targeted Keys tourism reopening date.
Lodging & Hotels
During the beginning stages of reopening, lodging will be 50% of standard occupancy. Local leaders are to examine the situation later in June to make determinations regarding relaxing occupancy restrictions.
Monroe County Mayor Heather 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 will be in place. Additionally, visitors and tourism industry staff members must wear a mask. The Florida Department of Health, Centers for Disease Control, and the American Hotel and Lodging Association will also enforce this.
New Health Guidelines in a Reopened Florida Keys
Carruthers said the county also plans to enforce health guidelines. Keys tourism officials expressed gratitude that the subtropical island destination is reopening to visitors.
“We appreciate and have supported local government and health officials’ decisions to minimize coronavirus infection rates in the Keys,” said Rita Irwin, chair of the Monroe County Tourist Development Council, the destination management office for the Florida Keys & Key West. “That said, we are most gratified that we can ease into hosting visitors again.
“Tourism is the economic lifeblood of the Keys and almost half of our workforce is employed in visitor-related jobs,” Irwin also added.
Planning a trip to the Florida Keys now that they reopen to tourists? Check out our recommendations for an authentic road trip to the upper keys!
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