Florida Keys Closing to Visitors as of Sunday

The Florida Keys and Key West are closing....

The Florida Keys will close all hotels, campgrounds, short-term rentals and other lodging establishments as of Sunday, Monroe County Mayor Heather Carruthers announced late Thursday. “Obviously this decision was not taken lightly, but it was made in light of the increases in COVID-19 cases in South Florida, and we’re at the doorstep of South Florida,” Carruthers said.

How will this be done, asked if there would roadblocks, checkpoints or other vehicular traffic controls coming into the Keys, officials in the Florida Keys indicate that nothing is off the table, but currently there are no plans for such measures.

The Keys-wide hotel closure, announced during a Thursday evening, March 19 virtual press conference, will apply to all 16,500 hotel rooms and other lodging units throughout the island chain that houses approximately 5,000 lodging establishments. The closure includes Key West, Marathon and other cities in Monroe County.

Anyone in the midst of a monthly or multi-month rental in the Keys will be allowed to finish out their stay, county spokeswoman Kristen Livengood said. 

“Protecting our residents is our top priority and we really didn’t see a scenario in which this wouldn’t eventually have to happen,” County Administrator Roman Gastesi said. 

Monroe County restaurants also likely will be limited to take and delivery only, with no on-site dining permitted, as those details are still being finalized with regard to retail businesses and other operations.

All of these measures are in place for 14 days to start, said Shannon Weiner, Monroe County emergency management director.

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