Florida Keys will reopen to visitors on June 1 amid pandemic

KEY WEST, FLORIDA (AP) — The Florida Keys will reopen to tourists on June 1, more than two months after the island chain closed to visitors to minimise the spread of the coronavirus.

Checkpoints that barred visitors from coming into the Florida Keys will be removed next month and hotels and other lodging establishments, including campgrounds and vacation rentals, will also be allowed to reopen at 50 per cent occupancy, Monroe County Emergency Management said in a statement last Sunday.

These businesses must implement sanitation stations and follow the American Hotel and Lodging Association’s cleaning guidelines for COVID-19, the statement said. Airport screenings and bus restrictions will also be lifted in June.

The decision to reopen comes amid the low coronavirus infection rate in the Florida Keys, the Miami Herald reported. As of Sunday, Monroe County had 100 positive coronavirus cases and three people deaths.

If the Florida Keys experience a surge in cases after reopening in June, “restrictions may be heightened and amenities may again be closed,” the statement said.

The move to reopen was the “toughest decision” Monroe County officials had to make, Monroe County Spokeswoman Kristen Livengood told the Miami Herald.

Cars pass an electronic messaging board on the Florida Keys Overseas Highway. PHOTO: AP