COVID-19 (Coronavirus)

The Keys are Closed to Visitors

Last updated: March 30, 2020 at 12:01 a.m.

Checkpoints continue for visitors in the Florida Keys

Monroe County, Monroe County Sheriff’s Office, and the municipalities have partnered to continue to operate the 24-hour southbound traffic checkpoints at mile marker 112.5 on the 18-Mile Stretch (U.S. 1), and on Card Sound Road (905) to reinforce Monroe County’s closure to visitors and non-residents. Due to heightened concerns of COVID-19, only residents, property owners, and those actively involved in work in the Florida Keys will be admitted, including fuel tankers, delivery and grocery trucks.

According to Monroe County Sheriff’s Office, 788 cars were turned around in the first 48 hours, and an estimated 2,000 people. Before the checkpoint started on Friday morning, the Florida Department of Transportation traffic counters were about 47-49 percent of average traffic flow for this time of year. Since the checkpoint was enacted, the traffic counters are at 23-26 percent of the average traffic flow for this time of year.

  • Proof of residency can be demonstrated with a resident re-entry sticker, local identification, a hard copy of the utility bill, deed, lease, or tax bill
  • Those actively engaged in work in the Florida Keys, such as construction workers, will need to show a hard copy of a letter from their employer, employee identification, a paystub, or current construction contract in the Keys.
  • First responders, healthcare workers, and military actively engaged in work in the Keys will need proper IDs. 

Long delays are possible at checkpoints

DO NOT call 911 with non-emergency questions about U.S. 1.

Florida Keys Coronavirus Cases

The latest update from the State Health Office regarding COVID-19. 

Monroe County is reporting 23 total cases, 20 are residents, 3 are non-residents. Of the 23, 15 are travel-related, 5 are community-acquired, and 3 are currently under investigation.

  • Key West – 13
  • Key Largo – 4
  • Tavernier – 1
  • Islamorada - 1
  • Summerland Key - 1
  • Non-residents – 3

The Health Department will officially confirm any other cases.

State Dept. of Health Breakdown by County

  • https://floridahealthcovid19.gov
  • Under “Review case, monitoring and PUI information on the latest COVID-19 Daily Report”  Click “See the Report.” This report is updated twice per day. 

Gov. DeSantis: Travel Restriction

Governor Ron DeSantis issued Executive Order 20-82, directing all persons who enter the State of Florida from an area with substantial community spread, to include the New York Tri-State Area (Connecticut, New Jersey and New York), to isolate or quarantine for a period of 14 days from the time of entry into the State of Florida or the duration of the person’s presence in the State of Florida, whichever is shorter.

The Governor also issued Executive Order 20-83, directing the State Surgeon General and State Health Officer to issue a public health advisory to all persons over 65 years of age urging them to stay home and to take such other measures as necessary to limit their risk of exposure to COVID-19.

Lodging Is Closed to Visitors

Monroe County is closed to all tourists and leisure visitors, lodging establishments are no longer accepting reservations until further notice, including extending extensions of current reservations, and all hotels, vacation rentals, and other transient rentals like marinas, RV parks, and timeshares will cease renting to tourists for 14 days. The ban does not include rentals for military, first responders, health care workers, and construction workers actively engaged in projects in Monroe County.

Non-Compliance 

The Emergency Directive 20-02 (Tourist Ban) Enforcement Protocol was collaboratively developed by Monroe County and the five municipalities with input from the Tax Collector, the Sheriff, and the State Attorney. Law enforcement officers are not prevented from taking steps to enforce Emergency Directive 20-02 if, in the officer’s discretion, immediate action is warranted.

  • Complaints: call 1-855-422-4540, the Tax Collector’s hotline.
  • Tax Collector will reach out to account holders and warn against renting during this State of Emergency and will warn those without accounts of consequences of renting without an account.
  • Tax Collector staff will refer complaints, as they come in, to the Code Compliance department within the jurisdiction for the property’s location.
  • The local Code Compliance Department will reach out to complainants to investigate. Code will advise owners, managers, and/or renters of the ban and consequences of non-compliance.
  • If Code Compliance does not obtain voluntarily compliance, Code will refer case to primary law enforcement agency for their jurisdiction. The State Attorney’s Office investigative division will also help with law enforcement responses.
  • Law enforcement will take code’s investigative information and initiate contact with violator(s) (owner, manager, and/or renter). If probable cause to believe there is a violation of Emergency Directive 20-02, law enforcement officer will issue a notice to appear (NTA) for violating an emergency directive issued during a state of emergency in violation of F.S. 252.50, a misdemeanor.
  • SAO will prosecute violations in County Court.

Vacation Rentals

To report short term vacation rentals who have not complied with the emergency directive regarding short term rentals, please call the Tax Collector’s Transient Rental Hotline at 855-422-4540. The Tax Collector’s office will be following up with the non-compliance of the directive throughout Monroe County.

Remember, the ban does not include rentals for military, first responders, health care workers, and construction workers actively engaged in projects in Monroe County. 

RV

The County has confirmed that there are available and open RV parks throughout the State of Florida that are currently accepting reservations. (RVtogo.com is one resource.)

Restaurants/Bars

The Department of Business and Professional Regulation (DBPR) is the agency charged with licensing and regulating businesses and professionals in the State of Florida, including the State Directive regarding restaurants and bars. 

QUESTIONS?

NEW INFORMATION

  • Monroe County renews its State of Local Emergency. The municipalities also renewed theirs. 
  • There will be no gatherings on County property of 10 or more people and all businesses are encouraged to limit or cancel gatherings of 10 or more people, this includes the County-owned parks and beaches that are open. 

THINGS TO KNOW

  • Emergency Management continues to monitor the situation in conjunction with the Florida Department of Health and will continue to facilitate conference calls with partner agencies and the municipalities.
  • Monroe County Emergency Management activated its EOC to Level 2 Partial Activation and is meeting regularly as of Tuesday, March 17, 2020, at 9 a.m.
  • For Monroe County Social Services and congregate food schedule changes, please see www.monroecounty-fl.gov/socialservices
  • The Monroe County Sheriff’s Office detention center has virtual visitation options available for inmates: www.keysso.net.

FEELING SICK?

If you suspect you have COVID-19 and believe a test is needed, call your doctor first. If you do not have a doctor, call your local urgent care or clinic. Tell them about your recent travel and your symptoms. If hospitalized or in an emergency room and you meet the testing criteria for the state, a sample will be collected at the hospital. If the individual does not meet state testing criteria, the medical director at the hospital may send the sample to a commercial lab,

If you are at a physician’s office and meet the testing criteria for the state, then the sample will be collected by the hospital or DOH staff. If the individual does not meet state criteria for testing, then he or she will need to find a private provider currently set up to do the test at a commercial lab. Most private providers are taking steps to set up commercial testing in their offices.

Any veteran who shows symptoms should call the VISN 8 Clinical Contact Center at 1-877-741-3400 for triage and instruction prior to coming to the medical center or clinics.

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You can respond online or by phone in one of 13 languages and find assistance in many more. If you need help completing the 2020 Census, you can call a toll-free phone number 844-330-2020. It will take about 10 minutes to complete. It’s safe, secure, and confidential. Results from the 2020 Census will be used to determine federal funds to local communities for schools, roads, and other public services and the number of seats each state has in Congress and your political representation at all levels of government.