Updated Wednesday, April 1, 9:15 a.m.
FLORIDA KEYS -- The Florida Keys remain closed to visitors until further notice, following directives from local government officials based on concerns about U.S. coronavirus threats. Florida Keys lodging businesses and virtually all other tourism-related businesses have temporarily ceased operations.
The Monroe County Sheriff’s Office implemented southbound traffic stops restricting road access to visitors. The traffic stops are located at mile marker 112.5 on the Florida Keys Overseas Highway (U.S. 1), and on State Road 905, between Ocean Reef and the access point to U.S. 1 in Key Largo, and are to continue 24 hours a day until further notice.
Only residents, property owners, and those actively involved in work in the Florida Keys will be admitted, including fuel tankers, delivery and grocery trucks. Officials advise there may be delays at checkpoints.
Officials will re-evaluate tourism closures and make changes when appropriate.
Currently, there are confirmed coronavirus cases in the Keys, according to Bob Eadie, the administrator and health officer for the Florida Department of Health in Monroe County. To keep Florida residents and visitors safe, informed and aware of coronavirus, the Florida Department of Health has launched a COVID-19 dashboard that is updated daily at approximately 11:30 a.m. and 6:30 p.m. The resource includes Monroe County (Florida Keys) data.
“We know that closing down the tourism industry is a major inconvenience for our visitors,” said Monroe County Mayor Heather Carruthers when announcing the closure. “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.”
Despite the lodging closure, long-term renters in vacation homes and R/V parks who are presently in the Keys and have contracts of 28 days or more are allowed to remain until the conclusion of their contracts.
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.