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Coronavirus: Florida Keys plan to keep visitors out through May

This aerial photo provided by the Florida Keys News Bureau shows a checkpoint at the top of the Florida Keys Overseas Highway near Key Largo. The Keys have been temporarily closed to visitors and non-residents since March 22, because of the coronavirus crisis.
This aerial photo provided by the Florida Keys News Bureau shows a checkpoint at the top of the Florida Keys Overseas Highway near Key Largo. The Keys have been temporarily closed to visitors and non-residents since March 22, because of the coronavirus crisis.

MONROE COUNTY, Fla. – Don’t plan on making a visit to the Florida Keys until at least June.

While stay-at-home orders may be loosened soon, Monroe County does not anticipate reopening to visitors in May, county officials said Friday.

“Monroe County understands there has been community discussion on opening dates for lodging and attractions, but because of the continued threat of COVID-19 in areas outside of Monroe County, not allowing visitors back to the Florida Keys will still be in place throughout May, and potentially longer given the state of the virus,” the county said in a news release.

The county adds that the checkpoint that has been keeping visitors out since March 22 “has been beneficial in keeping the Florida Keys’ curve flat and Monroe County will continue to work with F-DOT to keep it in place.”

Monroe has reported 76 cases of COVID-19 and three deaths as a result of the virus as of Friday morning.

The county says that of those, 68 are residents: 35 from Key West, 16 from Key Largo, six from Marathon, five from Tavernier, two from Islamorada, two from Summerland Key and one each from Cudjoe Key and Key Colony Beach.

“The last thing we want to do is open up the doors and then have a resurgence,” County Mayor Heather Carruthers told Local 10 News earlier this week.

The Keys have been discussing relaxing some restrictions for their residents in a “new normal.” They say they will first review the plans for Miami-Dade, Broward, and Palm Beach counties.

They also plan to “make sure benchmarks are met for the containment of the virus in a broader geographic area (including Miami-Dade, Broward, and Palm Beach counties)” before reopening lodging and removing the checkpoints to come into the Keys.

“It’s not going to be a snap your fingers and everything is back to normal by any means,” Carruthers said.


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