Florida Keys shuts down. Visitors stay away

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FLORIDA KEYS (March 19, 2020) — Citing concerns about coronavirus transmission threats, Florida Keys government 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 RV 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.

There are no confirmed coronavirus cases in the Keys, according to Bob Eadie, the administrator and health officer for the Florida Department of Health in Monroe County. But officials were concerned about increases in cases in the U.S. and a growing potential risk to Keys visitors and residents.

“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.

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