The Florida Keys reopened to visitors Monday, 1 June, after being closed to non-residents since 22 March to minimise the potential spread of COVID-19 during the global pandemic. Reopening measures included the removal of health checkpoints on two roads into the island chain, and the suspension of airport health screenings — except for passengers on nonstop flights from designated COVID-19 hotspot states.
Keys lodging properties, restaurants, beaches, attractions, watersports and other businesses have implemented safeguards that include enhanced sanitising, reduced occupancy limits, required social distancing and the wearing of masks, and barriers or increased space between seating areas and restaurant tables — with new signage designed to remind the public.
As visitors return to the island chain, officials’ messaging stresses personal health responsibility. The Keys tourism council’s website, www.fla-keys.com, highlights protective health practices for travellers to adopt while in the destination, intended to safeguard themselves and others.
The Keys tourism industry supports about 26,500 jobs, according to a recent analytic study, employing about 45 per cent of the 125-mile island chain’s workforce.