The wait is over. The Florida Keys & Key West reopened June 1, and are welcoming visitors again after being closed for more than two months because of the global COVID-19 crisis.

Accommodations properties, attractions, restaurants, museums, dive and fishing charter captains, watersports operators, wildlife facilities, and other businesses all over the island chain have been busy finalizing preparations to safeguard visitors’ health while they’re enjoying the Keys.

And we hope you too will share the responsibility for making your vacation a healthy one.

“It all boils down to personal responsibility, and it’s up to you,” advised Dr. Mark Whiteside, the medical director for the Keys’ Monroe County. “It’s like Smokey the Bear in preventing forest fires: only you can prevent transmission of COVID.”

Dr. Whiteside offers his expert insights and health tips in a new video on the Keys’ visitor website, — and viewable here.

As you visit the Keys, you’ll find that local businesses of all kinds are embracing enhanced sanitizing measures, reduced occupancy limits, required social distancing, the wearing of masks or facial coverings, and barriers or increased space between seating areas and restaurant tables. Plus there are plenty of new signs designed to remind everyone of these protective elements.

You’ll also find a very useful section on the Keys website devoted to common-sense health practices you can adopt before and during your vacation.

And remember that the island chain stretches well over 100 miles, offering plenty of open areas to enjoy the outdoor activities that make the destination so appealing — and provide ample room for fun while making it easy to maintain social distance. Water enthusiasts will find seemingly endless blue seas, and those who prefer land-based enjoyments can bike or stroll nature trails or explore parks and wildlife refuges.

But whatever experiences you’re planning, please be mindful of personal space, respect the new regulations, follow guidance on face coverings and take measures to protect your health and the health of others.

“We want all our visitors down here to stay happy and healthy throughout their stay,” summed up Dr. Whiteside, “and go back home as healthy or perhaps healthier than when they came down.”