Florida Keys to Close Lodging Businesses to Tourists

The Florida Keys have become another popular tourist destination to suspend operations in order to reduce the risks of coronavirus transmission, when government officials announced on Thursday that all lodging businesses will close at 6 p.m. Sunday, March 22.

Officials have instructed hotels to stop taking new reservations effective immediately. The government will re-evaluate the tourism closures and make changes when appropriate.

Renters in vacation homes and RV parks will be allowed to remain until the conclusion of their contracts.

According to Bob Eadie, the administrator and health officer for the Florida Department of Health in Monroe County, there are currently no confirmed cases of the coronavirus in the Keys. However, with Florida’s total number of coronavirus cases reaching 520 as of Friday, officials are concerned about the potential risk spreading to visitors and residents of the Keys.

“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 assured the public 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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US and Canada Close Border to Help Stem Coronavirus' Spread

Adding to already-severe travel restrictions in place on international travel, spurred by the global COVID-19 outbreak, President Trump and Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau cooperatively announced in separate press conferences held this morning that all non-essential travel across the U.S.-Canada border will be suspended.

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There was no indication as to when that ban might be lifted, as the fast-moving threat of the novel coronavirus continues to defy predictions.

President Trump had disclosed in an earlier tweet, ““We will be, by mutual consent, temporarily closing our Northern Border with Canada to non-essential traffic. Trade will not be affected.”

Shutdown of non-essential travel means that both nations’ residents will no longer be permitted to cross the border for purposes of recreation and tourism, as part of a pragmatic approach for limiting communities’ potential exposure to the virus. Trudeau emphasized that “essential travel will continue”, which includes, he said, crossings needed to perform, “essential work and for other urgent reasons.”

Read more about the COVID-19 emergency response package here:

Addressing a media audience, Trudeau also affirmed, “Our governments recognize that we preserve supply chains between both countries. These supply chains ensure that food, fuel and life-saving medicines reach people on both sides of the border. Supply chains including trucking will not be affected by this new measure.”

Just yesterday (March 17, 2020), the European Union likewise announced the closure of its external borders to non-citizens in an increasing effort to slow the spread of the COVID-19 coronavirus.

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