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The Florida Keys will welcome visitors once again on the target date of June 1, officials have announced. The island chain has been closed to tourists for over two months in the fight against the novel coronavirus.
After temporarily shuttering on March 22, the Keys will reopen in correlation with the previously announced removal of checkpoints at U.S. 1 and State Road 905 on June 1, which barred visitors from entry. Airport screenings at Key West International and Marathon Florida Keys airports will also be lifted that day.
With the exception of vacation rentals, lodging establishments will be allowed to reopen at 50 percent occupancy, Monroe County Emergency Management said in a Sunday statement. These hotels, campgrounds, RV parks, marinas and other transient-licensed sites must adopt increased sanitation protocol and abide by the American Hotel and Lodging Association’s amplified cleaning guidelines amid the COVID-19 outbreak.
“We appreciate and have supported local government and health officials’ decisions to minimize coronavirus infection rates in the Keys,” said Rita Irwin, chair of the Monroe County Tourist Development Council, said of the news. “That said, we are most gratified that we can ease into hosting visitors again.”
According to The Miami Herald, reopening decision followed a low coronavirus infection rate throughout the Florida Keys. Monroe County reported 100 positive cases of COVID-19 and three deaths as of Sunday, per The Associated Press.
Details of the tentative reopening, however, remain subject to change amid the ongoing outbreak.
“Should the Florida Keys experience an increase in cases and under the advisement of the Florida Department of Health, restrictions may be heightened and/or amenities may again be closed,” the Monroe County public safety office said.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.