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Key West reopens beaches and parks

Checkpoint keeping nonresidents out of Keys remains in place

Key West is opening its beaches, parks and recreational areas, but no, tourists still aren't allowed.
Key West is opening its beaches, parks and recreational areas, but no, tourists still aren't allowed. (iStock/treese094)

KEY WEST, Fla. – Saying they understand residents’ need to “resume some sense of normalcy,” Key West has reopened its beaches, parks and recreational facilities.

City Manager Greg Veliz announced in a Facebook post that the loosening of those coronavirus-related restrictions are effective today.

“Much like our national and state leaders, we have determined that the best way to proceed would be a phased approach,” Veliz wrote. “Although we are currently under a restrictive order as it pertains to businesses, we do understand the need to begin to allow our residents to resume some sense of normalcy while exercising personal responsibility and social distancing. To that end, effective Monday, April 27, 2020, the City of Key West will be opening its parks, beaches, and recreational facilities to local residents. While playgrounds and water features will remain closed for now, we hope that by easing some restrictions on public space our residents can enjoy the natural environment Key West has to offer. Residents are encouraged to responsibly distance themselves from each other while spending time outside of their homes.”

If you don’t live in the Keys, don’t get any ideas. Monroe County has said that it plans to leave the Upper Keys checkpoints on U.S. 1 at Mile Marker 112.5 and State Road 905 in place to keep nonresidents out until at least June.

“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,” the county reiterated Monday.

Documentation to prove residency, homeownership, or essential work can be found at www.monroecountyem.com/covid19.

In the Facebook message, Veliz wrote that Key West “wholeheartedly supports the maintenance of the informational checkpoint in the upper keys and envision Key West’s businesses serving a local clientele in the early phases of our recovery.”

A Letter from City Manager Greg Veliz: For the past couple of weeks, the City of Key West has been working with local...

Posted by City of Key West -- Government on Monday, 27 April 2020

The city closed its beaches and parks on March 16.

Veliz said Key West anticipates being able to reopen some non-essential businesses soon, but that would depend on Gov. Ron DeSantis first lifting the state’s stay-at-home order.

Monroe County has 79 confirmed cases of COVID-19 and three deaths from complications of the virus, and the county credits the checkpoint for helping keep those numbers down.

The county said Friday that 35 of those infected are residents of Key West.


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