MONROE COUNTY, Fla. — Anyone looking forward to a trip to the Florida Keys will have to change their plans.
On Thursday, Monroe County commissioners said they do not anticipate the vacation hot spot being open to visitors in May because of the coronavirus pandemic. Monroe County includes the Florida Keys and parts of the Everglades.
"Not allowing visitors back to the Florida Keys will still be in place throughout May, and potentially longer given the state of the virus," commissioners announced on Facebook.
According to the Florida Department of Health, three people in the county have died from coronavirus and there are currently 74 positive cases.
While the Keys won't be open to people who don't live there, county and city leaders said they are discussing possibilities for how to safely and slowly reopen to a "new normal" in the future.
"The relaxing of protective measures may be considered when there are no new cases or a steady downward trend in the Florida Keys for at least two weeks, and analysis of results as testing becomes more widespread," commissioners said.
The county said the first phase of this includes reopening outdoor recreational facilities and slowly reopening non-essential businesses. This first phase will be done after seeing how Miami-Dade, Broward and Palm Beach counties reopen their areas.
The final phases will include reopening lodging, removing the checkpoint coming into the Keys and lifting screening measures at the airports. The checkpoint, implemented March for arrivals into the Keys, has "been beneficial in keeping the Florida Keys' curve flat," commissioners said.
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