Keys businesses suffer without tourists visiting
Billions generated annually in Keys from tourists
KEY WEST, Fla. – Bo's Fishwagon has been staple in Key West since the 1970's.
But the barstools and tables at the popular eatery have been empty for 15 days straight, ever since the area cleared out for Hurricane Irma.
"It’s kind of hard being in business when you're looking at bankruptcy every summer," Holly Owen, the co-owner of the restaurant, said.
She believes the fallout from the storm has already cost her more than $30,000 in losses.
"The bottom line is like emptied out for sure," Owen said. "We just hope creditors and banks will give us a little leeway. that's the best we can do."
It has been two weeks since the last cruise ship docked in Key West.
That means thousands of people who are not spending their money around town.
"There are a lot of people who rely on tips and hourly workers so we gotta do that as fast as possible-- the hardest issue and we're trying as hard as we can working with FEMA is housing," Gov. Rick Scott said.
Housing for service workers is priority number one, Scott said.
He was back in the Keys on Wednesday, along with the acting secretary of the Department of Homeland Security.
They both know that Florida’s tourism industry relies heavily on the Keys and that $ 2.7 billion alone is generated from tourism dollars each year in Monroe County.
A vital industry that is suffering with each passing day, tourist attractions are not operating and a usually busy Duval Street is a ghost town with many more businesses still closed.
"I think the worst thing is-- we still don’t have potable water and that’s probably what I'm looking forward most to and it’s hard to open your doors if you don't have at least that," Owens said. "So right now I'm just throwing around as much bleach as I can."
Copyright 2017 by WPLG Local10.com - All rights reserved.