Key West Coronavirus Update and Information

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May 31, 2020 – UPDATE

We will be welcoming visitors back to the Florida Keys and Key West starting tomorrow, June 1, 2020!

The county is requiring that masks be worn in public while inside businesses and on public transportation. They do not need to be worn while eating in restaurants, in personal vehicles, or outdoors where social distancing is being observed. 

Key West International Airport arrivals from highly affected coronavirus areas will be screened. Checkpoints are coming down starting at midnight.

Accommodations reopen at 50% occupancy. Face-to-face interactions will be limited and CDC guidelines will need to be followed. 

Restaurants can operate at 50% capacity indoors and 100% capacity outdoors, but tables must be six feet apart and seat no more than groups of 10 people per table.

As for other activities, group attractions are limited to 10 people and must follow CDC guidelines. Seating at pools and beaches must have six feet of separation between groups. Key West attractions that will be open to tourists include (but are not limited to): 

  • Southernmost Point
  • The Key West Butterfly & Nature Conservatory
  • Fort Zachary Taylor Historic State Park
  • The Hemingway Home and Museum (will reopen Tuesday)
  • Smathers Beach
  • Train and Trolley Tours (will reopen Thursday)

Those offering private excursions such as Dream Catcher Charters are excited to get back to work showing people a great time on the water! All activities are requiring advanced reservations due to county regulations, so be sure to book in advance.

Feel free to contact us via email us at islandgenn@me.com with any specific questions. We look forward to seeing you!

May 18, 2020 – UPDATE

Last evening we were informed that the Florida Key and Key West will reopen to visitors starting June 1, 2020! Checkpoints will be suspended and lodging establishments can accept guests up to a 50% capacity, so make your reservations now! Airport screenings will be lifted at that time as well. At this time, to prevent COVID-19 from spreading, residents must still wear masks in public, limiting group sizes to 10 or less, and socially distancing from others by six feet.

May 14, 2020 – UPDATE

Local hotels are beginning to take reservations for check in starting June 1, 2020.

Nearly 30 Key West businesses have closed their doors forever, with more expected to close, due to negative financial impacts.

Monroe County is reporting 96 total cases of coronavirus with 3 deaths.

May 8, 2020 – UPDATE

Monroe County’s emergency order preventing lodging establishments from re-opening has been amended to allow establishments to begin taking reservations immediately for any time period, but the local state of emergency is still in effect, so at this time reservations will not be able to be fulfilled.  If a reservation cannot be honored because the state of emergency remains, lodging establishment must issue a full refund or credit for a future stay to the traveler.

The City of Key West has allowed partial reopening of businesses with the following caveat: “Employers shall take the temperature daily of all employees reporting to work. Any employee testing at or above 100.4 degrees Fahrenheit may indicate a medical issue that could be transmitted to others. The employee shall be sent home with a recommendation to consult a medical professional. All actions taken by the employers shall be consistent with the guidance provided by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission.”

A number of businesses in Key West are closing for good due to coronavirus’ devastating financial impacts. These include Lucy’s Retired Surfers, Fresh Produce, Commodore Steak House, Coffee Plantation, Mad Men, Loose Cannon, Funky Flamingo, Pro Gold, and Kojin Noodle Bar to name just a few.

May 4, 2020 – UPDATE

The Florida Keys are still closed to visitors and they do not anticipate reopening in the month of May. All those entering the Keys through the checkpoint need to have proof of residency, long term lease, property ownership, or proof that you are working.

Retail businesses can operate at 25% of building capacity, but no personal services such as manicures, massages or haircuts are allowed. Restaurants can operate at 25% of indoor capacity. Outdoor seating capacity will not be limited, as long as tables are 6 feet apart and seated parties are groups of 10 or less. Bars and bar seating in restaurants must remain closed.

Use of facial coverings in public settings is still required. Senior citizens and individuals with an underlying medical condition are still strongly encouraged to stay at home.

Monroe County is reporting 80 total cases of coronavirus, with 3 deaths.

April 27, 2020 – UPDATE

Effective today, City of Key West beaches, parks, and recreational facilities will reopen to local residents. Playgrounds and pools will remain closed for now.

Key West anticipates lifting the closure of non-essential businesses in the near future with added protective measures in place. The city supports the checkpoint in the Upper Keys and envisions the first phases of reopening to serve the local population solely.

April 24, 2020 – UPDATE

The Florida Keys are closed to visitors until June 1, 2020 at this time.

There are 77 confirmed cases of Coronavirus in the Florida Keys.

Schools are closed for the remainder of the year.

April 23, 2020 – UPDATE

Monroe County Emergency Management began drafting a framework to relax protective measures in the Florida Key, taking advice from the Florida Department of Health. Officials are looking for no new cases of Covid-19 or a steady downward trend in the Florida Keys for at least two weeks. The first phase is designed to relieve residents, open outdoor recreational facilities throughout Monroe County, and begin reopening non-essential businesses. Subsequent actions include easing protective measures on wearing masks in public settings, reopening restaurants to onsite dining with capacity restrictions, and allowing groups of more than 10 people to gather. Some of these actions will be based on state restrictions also being removed. The final phases would involve reopening the Florida Keys to visitors.

April 18, 2020 – UPDATE

The Florida Keys remain closed to visitors.

In the city of Key West, Key West Transit has suspended all bus service until further notice.

All parks, public facilities and non-essential businesses remain closed until further notice, including Mallory Square and the White Street Pier. Museums like Fort East Martello, the Key West Lighthouse, Tennessee Williams Museum, and Custom House Museum will be closed until further notice. Fort Zachary Taylor State Park also remains closed.

All public boat ramps are closed to visitors.

Gatherings of more than 10 are also not allowed on the water. By state order, boats are expected to stay 50 feet apart. Rafting and daisy chains are not allowed. The Monroe County Sheriff’s Office and FWC are patrolling popular sandbars and social areas, as well as working to keep mainland boaters out of Keys waters. Patrols will increase on high traffic days like Saturday and Sunday.

All fishing bridges are closed to fishing by the DEP in an effort to reduce large numbers of people congregating on the bridges. FWC will be educating the public about this closure; walking, biking, running across the bridges is still allowed. 

Key West International Airport continues to operate. Arriving passengers must fill out the Dept. of Health required questionnaire, have their temperatures taken, and are provided the Executive Order 20-82. Anyone coming from an airport directed by the order is required to quarantine themselves for 14 days. The Florida Department of Health in Monroe County trained Monroe County Fire Rescue to provide the follow up with each individual. It is a second-degree misdemeanor and punishable by imprisonment and or fine to not follow the directive.

Monroe County is reporting 73 total cases of Coronavirus with 3 people having died.

April 8, 2020 – UPDATE

Monroe County has issued further protective measures which basically falls in line with the City of Key West’s directive yesterday. The mandates include essential businesses limiting capacity to 50% of maximum occupancy and providing hand sanitizers and/or disinfecting wipes for use by customers and employees. All employees and customers of essential businesses where 10 or more people may be present are required to wear a form of covering over their nose and mouth at all times. This includes delivery service workers too.

Starting today and until further notice all arriving passengers regardless of origination will be screened at the Key West and Marathon International Airports.

The Florida Keys are still closed to visitors. Please do not purchase counterfeit reentry stickers for your vehicle as they will be confiscated at the checkpoint. As a result of hundreds of people trying to come into the county with fake stickers, residents are no longer able to get reentry stickers.

April 7, 2020 – UPDATE

The City of Key West has issued further protective measures to begin midnight, April 7, 2020 for all essential businesses. Here are details of the order…

  • Limit capacity and monitor entrances and exits to reduce their maximum occupancy load by 50 percent. Businesses that have multiple entrances and exits shall establish a protocol of entrance and exit points only.
  • Provide alcohol-based hand sanitizers for use by customers and employees, subject to the availability of supplies.
  • Provide disinfecting wipes at points of entrance, cash registers, and other appropriate locations. As an alternative, essential businesses shall designate staff responsible for disinfecting cars, shopping baskets, point of sales terminals and other areas as frequently as possible.
  • Implement procedures to ensure that both employees and customers remain at least six feet apart at all times. This can be accomplished with marking floors and other visible systems.
  • Close all salad bars and other self-serve food station.
  • Refrain from distributing free samples or conducting tasting.
  • All employees and customers of any essential business where ten or more people congregate shall be required to wear a form of covering over their nose and mouth at all times while inside the business. Examples of such businesses include grocery stores, pharmacies, restaurants, food distribution points and hardware stores. These coverings may include face masks a homemade mask or other cloth covering such as a scarf or bandana. In addition, employers are strongly urged to implement policies for employees to use other protective equipment like gloves.
  • The requirements of the directive shall not apply to any outdoor activity, except for persons providing delivery services.

Additionally, the directive orders anyone who has been diagnosed or believes that they are infected with the coronavirus to separate themselves from others who are not infected to prevent the spread.

There are now 51 cases of coronavirus in the Florida Keys. Of those, 3 have died.

April 2, 2020 – UPDATE

The Florida Keys remain closed to visitors. Gov. DeSantis issued an executive order placing the entire state under the Safer at Home initiative.

Monroe County now has 30 total cases of coronavirus.

March 30, 2020 UPDATE

The Keys remain closed to visitors and Key West has extended the local state of emergency for another week.

In addition, Monroe County has closed Higgs Beach and the adjoining tennis and pickle ball courts.

The checkpoint at MM 112 and on Card Sound Road remain in effect.

Key West is requesting that all business with the city be done remotely.

Monroe County is now reporting 23 total cases of coronavirus.

March 27, 2020 UPDATE

The city of Key West is closing the Edward Knight Memorial White Street Pier beginning 5pm today in an effort to reduce large numbers of people congregating. The closer will be reviewed on a daily basis and will be in effect until further notice.

There are now 14 confirmed cases of coronavirus in the Florida Keys.

March 25, 2020 UPDATE

To limit further exposure to coronavirus, the Monroe County Sheriff’s Office is restricting access to the Florida Keys. The stops will be located at mile marker 112.5 on US 1, and on Card Sound Road starting early Friday, March 27, 2020, if not earlier. The only people being allowed through the checkpoints will be residents, property owners and those actively involved in work in the Florida Keys such as fuel tankers and delivery trucks. Proof of residency will need to be shown; local identification, a resident reentry sticker, utility bill, deed, lease or tax bill will all suffice as proof. Those actively working in the Florida Keys for essential businesses will need to show a letter from their employer, employee identification, a paystub, or current construction contract in the Florida Keys. First responders, healthcare workers and military actively engaged in work in the Keys will need proper ID as well.  Expect long delays.

March 23, 2020 UPDATE

Key West’s city officials have renewed its state of emergency order for another seven days, adding new shutdowns for all “non-essential” retail and commercial businesses beginning 5 p.m. Monday.

In addition, according to the Monroe County BOCC, all fishing bridges are now closed in the Florida Keys.

March 20, 2020 UPDATE

Last evening, Monroe County directed all of the lodging businesses in the Florida Keys to close. Citing their worries about threats to the Florida Keys from the Coronavirus, Monroe County officials announced all hotels, guest houses, short-term rentals in RV parks and vacation rentals were to close beginning at 6 p.m. Sunday, March 22. The exception to this rule is for long-term renters in vacation homes with contracts over 28 days that are already present in the Florida Keys; they will be allowed to stay until the end of their rental agreements. Hotels were directed to no longer take reservations effective immediately. Current visitors must leave by Sunday at 6 p.m. This closure will be in effect for the next 14 days until further notice and will be reevaluated daily. The ban applies to all leisure visitors.

The County is keeping its parks and beaches open for residents as it is considered productive for mental and physical health. But users must keep to small groups of less than 10 people only, and law enforcement officers will be patrolling all areas regularly County-owned playgrounds are still being sanitized twice daily.

With the City of Key West declaring operations that support social gatherings of 10 or more people in a limited area and operate within or from the City of Key West cease operations, many local businesses are now shutting down or operating on a limited basis. These include: movie theaters, museums, sightseeing vehicles carrying 10 or more passengers including crew, attraction tour vessels and charter boats carrying 10 or more passengers including crew, commercial motor coaches, tour buses and similar vehicles carrying 10 or more passengers including crew.

The city of Key West also has established a hot line, 305-809-1101, which is staffed 24 hours day if anyone has questions.

Publix has make shopping from 7 – 8 am for those over 65 only so that they can get in and out with limited exposure. Winn Dixie has done the same things, with those hours being 8 – 9 am.

In addition, Florida’s Governor just today issued an executive order for all food establishments to suspend on premise food and alcohol service. They may still operate their kitchens for delivery and / or take-out. The order also included the closure of all Florida gyms and fitness centers.

One person in the Florida Keys has now tested positive for coronavirus. She is a 72-year old Upper Keys resident who apparently contracted the coronavirus on a recent trip to the United Kingdom. According to the Florida Department of Health, she is expected to make a full recovery.

March 19, 2020

According to Monroe County’s Emergency Management and the Florida Department of Health in Monroe County, there are currently no confirmed COVID-19 cases in the Florida Keys. On Sunday, March 15th, Mayor Heather Carruthers declared a local state of emergency for Monroe County to help free up resources and funds to help with a potential crisis. 

County officials do not discourage travel to the Florida Keys, and the Key West International Airport remains open with no plans of closing. The Monroe County Tourist Development Council is letting travelers know that there are no restrictions to come to the Florida Keys and Key West other than travel to the United States from countries the CDC has identified. 

As of March 15th, cruise lines have cancelled all itineraries until further notice.  So, even though the Key West port has not closed, there will be no ships visiting the island for at least the remainder of the month of March. 

The ferry terminal, however, will be closed to incoming passengers for the remainder of the month.

As a precaution, there have been some other closures on the island of Key West as well. Here is the latest list:

So, what is there to do in Key West? Lots, actually! 

  • Fishing is fabulous right now and the charter guides would love the business. 
  • Monroe County’s public beaches are remaining open, but people should not congregate in groups larger than 10 people; law enforcement will be patrolling to enforce the directive.
  • Parks and libraries are staying open and are also instructed to follow the “less than 10 rule” as mandated by the State. County-owned playgrounds are being sanitized twice daily until further notice.
  • Jeep rentals are available for you to explore the Florida Keys. 
  • Many shops, museums and galleries remain open in Key West, so check those out!
  • Restaurants not in the Key West city limits are still open for business per usual. That is as little as a 5 minute drive away! And most Key West restaurants are still open for take-out and / or delivery:
    • Amigo’s Tortilla Bar – CLOSED
    • Ana’s Cuban Cafe – PICKUP
    • Antonia’s Restaurant –
    • Bad Boy Burrito-Key West – PICKUP & DELIVERY
    • Banana Cafe – PICKUP & DELIVERY
    • Benihana – PICKUP
    • Better Than Sex – A Dessert Restaurant – PICKUP
    • Big John’s Pizza – PICKUP & DELIVERY
    • Blackfin Bistro – PICKUP
    • Blue Heaven – PICKUP
    • BOs Fish Wagon – PICKUP & DELIVERY
    • The Breakfast Club Too – PICKUP & DELIVERY
    • The Cafe –
    • Cafe Sole – PICKUP & DELIVERY
    • Camilles – PICKUP & DELIVERY
    • Caroline’s Cafe – PICKUP & DELIVERY
    • Charlie Mac’s – PICKUP & DELIVERY
    • Chef John Hines Meal Prep – DELIVERY
    • Chico’s Cantina – PICKUP and DINE IN
    • Cole’s Peace – PICK UP
    • Conch Shack – PICKUP
    • Conch Town Liquor & Lounge – PICKUP & DELIVERY
    • Courthouse Deli – PICKUP & DELIVERY
    • Corner Sandwich Shop – PICKUP
    • Cuban Coffee Queen – PICKUP
    • DJ’s Clam Shack – PICKUP
    • Delunas Cafe – PICKUP & DELIVERY
    • Denny’s – PICKUP & DELIVERY
    • The Dirty Pig – PICKUP & DELIVERY
    • Dolphin Deli –
    • Domino’s Pizza – PICKUP & DELIVERY
    • Duffy’s Steak and Lobster House – PICKUP
    • Duetto Pizza & Gelato –
    • El Siboney Key West – PICKUP & DELIVERY
    • El Siboney Stock Island – PICKUP & DELIVERY
    • Fernandy’s Café – PICKUP & DELIVERY
    • Firefly Key West – PICKUP & DELIVERY
    • The Flaming Buoy Filet Co. – PICKUP & DELIVERY
    • Frita’s Cuban Burger Cafe – PICKUP & DELIVERY
    • Garbos’ Grill – PICKUP & DELIVERY
    • Glazed Donuts – PICKUP
    • Goldman’s Bagel Deli – PICKUP & DELIVERY
    • Grand Cafe – CLOSED
    • Half Shall Raw Bar – PICKUP
    • Hard Rock Cafe Key West – PICKUP
    • Harpoon Harry’s – PICKUP
    • Havana Cabana Food Truck – PICKUP
    • Hogfish Bar and Grill – PICKUP & DINE IN
    • Kennedy Cafe – PICKUP & DELIVERY
    • Key Plaza Creperie – PICKUP & DELIVERY
    • Keys Coffee Co –
    • La Crêperie – French Café Key West – PICKUP & DELIVERY
    • La Michoacana – PICKUP
    • La Te Da – PICKUP
    • La Trattoria Oceanside – DELIVERY
    • La Trattoria Old Town – DELIVERY
    • Little Pearl –
    • Lola’s Bistro – PICKUP
    • Mangia Mangia – PICKUP & DELIVERY
    • Margaritaville Restaurant, Key West –
    • Mary Ellen’s Bar and Kitchen – PICKUP & DELIVERY
    • Matt’s Stock Island Kitchen & Bar – PICKUP & DINE IN
    • Miami Subs Grill – PICKUP
    • Misohappy – PICKUP & DELIVERY
    • Moondog Cafe & Bakery – PICKUP & DELIVERY
    • Mr. Z’s – Old Town – PICKUP & DELIVERY 
    • New York Pasta Garden – PICKUP & DELIVERY
    • Ocean Grill & Bar – PICKUP & DELIVERY
    • Off the Hook Grill Key West – DELIVERY
    • Old Town Bakery, Key West – PICKUP & DELIVERY
    • Old Town Tavern & Beer Garden – PICKUP & DELIVERY
    • The Original Sandy’s Cafe – PICKUP & DELIVERY
    • Outback Steakhouse – PICKUP & DELIVERY
    • Pepe’s Cafe – PICKUP
    • Pescado – PICKUP & DELIVERY
    • Pirate’s Cove  – TAKE OUT
    • Roostica – PICKUP & DINE IN
    • Sandy’s Cafe – PICKUP
    • Salsa Loca – PICKUP & DELIVERY
    • Seven Fish – PICKUP
    • Shanna Key – PICKUP
    • Sister Noodle House – PICKUP & DELIVERY
    • Smoked BBQ – PICKUP & DELIVERY & LIMITED SEATING
    • Smoothie Shuttle – PICKUP & DELIVERY
    • Southernmost Beach Cafe – PICKUP
    • Stock Rock Cafe – PICKUP & DINE IN
    • Subway – PICKUP
    • Sushi Song – DELIVERY
    • Taco Express – PICKUP & DELIVERY
    • Tavern N Town – PICKUP
    • Thai Island Restaurant & Sushi Bar – PICKUP & DELIVERY
    • Thirsty Mermaid –
    • Tipsy Rooster – PICK UP
    • Tong’s Garden Chinese Restaurant – DELIVERY
    • Tropical Vibes Cones and Bowls – PICKUP & DELIVERY
    • Uva Key West – DELIVERY
    • Vinos on Duval –
    • Viva Saloon –
    • ViV Wine Bistro – PICKUP & DELIVERY

For other Key West information…

There are so many different places to eat in Key West. Before you decide where to go, be sure to read my Key West restaurant reviews; check out our restaurant review section of this blog.

To see what is happening on the island during your visit, check out our Key West Events Calendar to see other upcoming special events.

And for more information about the fun side of Key West… things to do and see in our island city, go to our Key West Web Site.

Feel free to Email Me if you have any questions about Key West!!

Island Genn – Your Key West Concierge

About the author: Island Genn

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