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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