It’s been a long wait for Key West to reopen. Although the governor of Florida didn’t start stay-at-home orders for the state until April 3rd (the 30th state to do so), the smarter mayors of individual counties and towns started much earlier. Case in point, due to the fear of coronavirus overwhelming the Keys’ 3 small hospitals, the leaders of Monroe County originally closed the Keys down back on March 22. That’s when they set up road blocks and only allowed residents to enter. They extended the lockdown in mid-late April. But on May 19th it was finally announced that the Keys would reopen on June 1st.
Although Monroe County has reopened the Keys to visitors, the area still has to abide by the county’s rules, as well as phases of reopening that have been set by the governor. As of this writing, Florida is still under the second level of Phase 1 – call it, if you’d like, Phase 1B. Here’s what you can, and can’t, currently do, as well as what to expect if you decide to go to, for example, Key West.
Entering The County
Roadblocks/checkpoints will no longer be in place and there is no quarantine for visitors when they enter.
Those who fly in from areas with a high level of COVID-19 cases will be screened. The state currently requires anyone arriving from the New York tri-state area (New York, New Jersey and Connecticut) and Louisiana to self-quarantine for 14 days (or the duration of their stay, if it’s shorter).
*** UPDATE 6/18/20: Masks or other facial coverings are now MANDATORY.
Visitors (as well as residents) are asked to maintain proper hygiene, cleanliness, social distancing and personal protection. Monroe County has the directive of wearing masks or other facial coverings in public settings.
It’s recommended by Monroe County that hotels and other places to stay overnight maintain no more than a 50% occupancy. Short-term vacation and rental reservations are open to visitors from areas that have coronavirus case rates of less than 700 cases per 100,000 residents. Visitors from hot spot areas are to be avoided for a month and international travelers can’t make reservations. Guidelines for hotels etc. can be found here.
Here are our reviews of some of the places we’ve stayed in Key West:
And there are some mini-reviews in our 2017 post, Key West: Should You Stay In A Chain Or An Independent Hotel?
Food & Beverage
As per the state of Florida, restaurants can operate indoors at 50% capacity. Outdoor capacity isn’t limited buy tables must be a minimum of 6′ apart and can’t seat more than 10 people.
If you’re looking for some inspiration, here are some of our favorite places to eat in Key West (last updated August 2019, and yes, we like Starbucks, so hush! LOL!).
Ah, Sloppy Joe’s, Rick’s Tree Bar, The World Smallest Bar, Tony’s Saloon, and all those other bars on Duval Street. What would Key West be without bars? Welp, I guess you’ll have to find out because as of this writing, as this phase of reopening Florida, bars are not open.
I know…it’s a travesty.
That being said, you can get a “to go” cocktail from a restaurant, so there’s that.
Some attractions are open, some are closed. Check with each facility’s website to confirm the status and, as applicable, hours.
We did get an email that Danger Charters, which is our favorite way to see a Key West sunset, is open effective June 1st. Their ships will be limited to 50% capacity (and they were never overcrowded anyway – that’s part of the reason why we liked them). We HIGHLY recommend them!
So yeah…Key West is open! Depending on how this #coronacrapola goes, we may consider going for a long weekend one of these days. Hope others do too; just not TOO many. Cuz all the cool kids are social distancing, y’know!
Want to learn more about Key West?
Our friend Lee from BaldThoughts.com and the We Travel There podcast interviewed Victoria Green to uncover the best things to do in Key West, including the Songwriter’s Festival, Fantasy Fest, and sunset celebrations. Click here to check it out!
*** Feature Photo: Wilhelm Rozenkrantz/flickr
#stayhealthy #staysafe #washyourhands
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This post first appeared on Your Mileage May Vary