COVID-19

THE KEYS ARE CLOSED TO VISITORS - 3.24.2020 - 8:30p,

The public boat ramps are closed to visitors due to the Florida Keys being closed to visitors.

Per FWC: All Florida Keys fishing bridges are closed.

OFFICIALS TO RESTRICT TRAVEL ON FLORIDA KEYS OVERSEAS HIGHWAY (U.S. 1)

Monroe County Sheriff’s Office is implementing southbound checkpoints at MM 112.5 on US1, and on Card Sound Road (905), to reinforce Monroe County’s closure to visitors and non-residents no later than early Friday. Only residents, property owners, and those actively involved in work in the Florida Keys will be admitted, including fuel tankers, delivery and grocery trucks.

  • Proof of residency can be demonstrated with a resident re-entry sticker, local identification, utility bill, deed, lease, or tax bill.
  • Those actively engaged in work in the Florida Keys, such as construction workers, will need to show a letter from their employer, employee identification, a paystub, or current construction contract in the Keys.
  • First responders, healthcare workers, and military actively engaged in work in the Keys will need proper IDs.

Long delays are possible at checkpoints and officials say DO NOT call 911 with non-emergency questions about U.S. 1.

Florida Keys Coronavirus Cases

There are two confirmed cases in the Florida Keys.

  1. Woman, 72, travel-related (United Kingdom), Key Largo.
  2. Woman, 54, travel-related (France), Key West.
  3. Woman, 52, not travel-related, Key West.
  4. Male, 48, travel-related, Key West.
State Dept. of Health Breakdown by County
  • https://floridahealthcovid19.gov
  • Under “Review case, monitoring and PUI information on the latest COVID-19 Daily Report”  Click “See the Report.” This report is updated twice per day.
Gov. DeSantis: Travel Restriction

Governor Ron DeSantis issued Executive Order 20-80, directing all persons whose point of departure originates from outside the State of Florida in an area with substantial community spread, to include the New York Tri-State Area (Connecticut, New Jersey, and New York), and entering the State of Florida through airports to isolate or quarantine for a period of 14 days from the time of entry into the State of Florida or the duration of the person’s presence in the State of Florida, whichever is shorter.

Lodging Is Closed to Visitors

Monroe County is closed to all tourists and leisure visitors, lodging establishments are no longer accepting reservations until further notice, including extending extensions of current reservations, and all hotels, vacation rentals, and other transient rentals like marinas, RV parks, and timeshares will cease renting to tourists for 14 days. The ban does not include rentals for military, first responders, health care workers, and construction workers actively engaged in projects in Monroe County.

Non-Compliance

The Emergency Directive 20-02 (Tourist Ban) Enforcement Protocol was collaboratively developed by Monroe County and the five municipalities with input from the Tax Collector, the Sheriff, and the State Attorney. Law enforcement officers are not prevented from taking steps to enforce Emergency Directive 20-02 if, in the officer’s discretion, immediate action is warranted.

  • Complaints: call 1-855-422-4540, the Tax Collector’s hotline.
  • Tax Collector will reach out to account holders and warn against renting during this State of Emergency and will warn those without accounts of consequences of renting without an account.
  • Tax Collector staff will refer complaints, as they come in, to the Code Compliance department within the jurisdiction for the property’s location.
  • The local Code Compliance Department will reach out to complainants to investigate. Code will advise owners, managers, and/or renters of the ban and consequences of non-compliance.
  • If Code Compliance does not obtain voluntarily compliance, Code will refer case to primary law enforcement agency for their jurisdiction. The State Attorney’s Office investigative division will also help with law enforcement responses.
  • Law enforcement will take code’s investigative information and initiate contact with violator(s) (owner, manager, and/or renter). If probable cause to believe there is a violation of Emergency Directive 20-02, law enforcement officer will issue a notice to appear (NTA) for violating an emergency directive issued during a state of emergency in violation of F.S. 252.50, a misdemeanor.
  • SAO will prosecute violations in County Court.
Vacation Rentals

To report short term vacation rentals who have not complied with the emergency directive regarding short term rentals, please call the Tax Collector’s Transient Rental Hotline at 855-422-4540. The Tax Collector’s office will be following up with the non-compliance of the directive throughout Monroe County.

Remember, the ban does not include rentals for military, first responders, health care workers, and construction workers actively engaged in projects in Monroe County.

Non-Essential Businesses Being Open

This is Key West only at this point. Please call the City of Key West Hotline: 305-809-1101

RV

The County has confirmed that there are available and open RV parks throughout the State of Florida that are currently accepting reservations. (RVtogo.com is one resource.)

Restaurants/Bars

The Department of Business and Professional Regulation (DBPR) is the agency charged with licensing and regulating businesses and professionals in the State of Florida, including the State Directive regarding restaurants and bars.


QUESTIONS?
NEW INFORMATION
  • Monroe County renews its State of Local Emergency. The municipalities also renewed theirs.
  • There will be no gatherings on County property of 10 or more people and all businesses are encouraged to limit or cancel gatherings of 10 or more people, this includes the County-owned parks and beaches that are open.
THINGS TO KNOW
  • Emergency Management continues to monitor the situation in conjunction with the Florida Department of Health and will continue to facilitate conference calls with partner agencies and the municipalities.
  • Monroe County Emergency Management activated its EOC to Level 2 Partial Activation and is meeting regularly as of Tuesday, March 17, 2020, at 9 a.m.
  • For Monroe County Social Services and congregate food schedule changes, please see www.monroecounty-fl.gov/socialservices.
  • The Monroe County Sheriff’s Office detention center has virtual visitation options available for inmates: www.keysso.net.

FEELING SICK?

If you suspect you have COVID-19 and believe a test is needed, call your doctor first. If you do not have a doctor, call your local urgent care or clinic. Tell them about your recent travel and your symptoms. If hospitalized or in an emergency room and you meet the testing criteria for the state, a sample will be collected at the hospital. If the individual does not meet state testing criteria, the medical director at the hospital may send the sample to a commercial lab,

If you are at a physician’s office and meet the testing criteria for the state, then the sample will be collected by the hospital or DOH staff. If the individual does not meet state criteria for testing, then he or she will need to find a private provider currently set up to do the test at a commercial lab. Most private providers are taking steps to set up commercial testing in their offices.

Any veteran who shows symptoms should call the VISN 8 Clinical Contact Center at 1-877-741-3400 for triage and instruction prior to coming to the medical center or clinics.

KEYS TOURISM ADVISORY from March 21, 2020 • 6:20 p.m.

Key West Non-Essential Retail Businesses Directed to Close Monday Afternoon

The City of Key West has issued a directive to close down all non-essential retail and commercial establishments as of 5 p.m. Monday, March 23, 2020.

Essential establishments, not required to close, are listed in the directive at https://www.cityofkeywest-fl.gov/egov/documents/1584822002_20507.pdf.
According to city officials, the directive is to be assessed daily and stay in effect as long as the State of Local Emergency is active.

Monroe County officials have mandated that the entire Florida Keys destination is to close to visitors beginning at 6 p.m. Sunday, March 22. Florida Keys lodging businesses are directed to close by that time.

The only exception is for long-term renters in vacation homes, marinas and R/V parks with contracts of 28 days or more, who are presently in the Keys. They are to be allowed to remain until the conclusion of their contracts.

Accommodate visitors who request travel changes or refunds

Resorts and other tourism-related businesses are urged to exercise extreme flexibility when interfacing with potential visitors who request refunds or reservation date changes. In crisis situations such as coronavirus, sensitivity to the consumer’s needs should be paramount in order to maintain a good image for the business and the destination as a whole.

Islamorada announces closures:

Parks in the Village of Islamorada are closed to the public with the exception of open spaces at Founders Park. The Founders Park Aquatic Center and dog park are closed. Founders Park facilities such as the basketball court, tennis courts, pickleball courts, fields and walking trails may be used by individuals and small groups. All beaches and other Village parks including Anne’s Beach and Library Park Beach are completely closed. All restroom facilities at parks and beaches are closed. The area known as the Fills from MM 77.5 to 79.8 and the boat ramp at Indian Key Fill are closed.

Effective March 21, Florida state parks with beaches are closed. In the Florida Keys, this includes Bahia Honda State Park, Curry Hammock State Park, Fort Zachary Taylor Historic State Park, John Pennekamp Coral Reef State Park and Long Key State Park.

The City of Marathon has closed all city beaches; Key West’s Smathers Beach is closed as well.

Monroe County efforts to keep parks and beaches open

The county will continue to keep its county-owned parks and beaches open because Monroe County officials see them as spaces where residents can practice social distancing while engaging in activities that are productive for mental and physical health. Users must follow the directive of the state that says all congregating must be done in small groups of less than 10 people. Law enforcement is patrolling all areas on a regular basis. County-owned playgrounds are being sanitized twice daily.

Florida’s restaurants closed to sit-down dining

Per the Florida Governor’s March 20 executive order, all restaurants and food establishments within the State of Florida, including the Florida Keys, have been directed to suspend on-premises food and alcohol consumption. On-site dining is not allowed. Establishments may operate for the purpose of take-out or delivery. All bars and nightclubs throughout Florida, including the Keys, ceased operations March 17.

KEYS TOURISM ADVISORY from March 19, 2020 • 7 p.m.

Keys Lodging Businesses Directed to Close at 6 p.m., Sunday, March 22   

Citing concerns about increasing coronavirus threats, Monroe County officials late Thursday announced plans to close the island destination to visitors beginning at 6 p.m. Sunday, March 22. Florida Keys lodging businesses are directed to close at that time. 

The only exception is for long-term renters in vacation homes and R/V parks with contracts of 28 days or more, who are presently in the Keys. They are to be allowed to remain until the conclusion of their contracts.

Hotels are directed to stop taking new reservations effective immediately, officials said. Officials said they will re-evaluate the tourism closures and make changes when appropriate.

The County has already seen a steady decline in visitor flow, even though there are no confirmed cases of coronavirus in the Keys, according to Bob Eadie, the administrator and health officer for the Florida Department of Health in Monroe County.

“We know that closing down the tourism industry is a major inconvenience for our visitors,” said Monroe County Mayor Heather Carruthers. “But the health and safety of our visitors and residents are paramount.

“We certainly hope our visitors will return to the Keys once the coronavirus crisis has passed,” she added. “We also understand the economic impacts all Keys businesses and families will likely face.”

Carruthers said that Monroe County continues to follow the directives of the Centers for Disease Control, the Florida Department of Health, and State of Florida Governor’s Office Executive Orders.

The County will continue to allow restaurants to operate at 50 percent capacity to serve residents who are in the Florida Keys as long as the State of Florida directives for spacing and capacity are being followed. The City of Key West is not permitting any sit-down restaurant dining on the island. The Florida Department of Business and Professional Regulation is responsible for enforcing the restaurant and bar mandates. 

The County will continue to keep its county-owned parks and beaches open because County officials see them as spaces where residents can practice social distancing that is productive for mental and physical health. Users must follow the directive of the State that says all congregating must be done in small groups of less than 10 people. Law enforcement is patrolling all areas on a regular basis. County-owned playgrounds are being sanitized twice daily.

The City of Marathon has closed all city beaches; Key West’s Smathers Beach is closed as well. Additional directives regarding beaches, restaurants and parks are likely to come.