Florida Keys closing to non-residents starting Sunday

Updated: Mar. 20, 2020 at 8:50 AM EDT
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MONROE COUNTY, Fla. (WWSB) - The Florida Keys are closing Sunday for the foreseeable future.

The Keys, which are linked by a single highway to the state, will be closed to non-residents starting March 22. The unprecedented move will be a major blow to the tourism industry.

But government officials in the Keys say they have to protect the health and safety of residents, many of whom are elderly.

Hotels, guest houses, short-term rentals in RV parks and vacation rentals have been directed to stop taking new reservations effective immediately. The only exception being made is for long-term renters in vacation homes and RV parks with contracts of 28 days or more. They’re allowed to stay until the end of their contracts. All other visitors must leave by 6pm on Sunday.

Government officials took action despite health officials in Monroe County saying there are no confirmed cases of coronavirus in the Keys. But officials are quick to point out that the majority of people who contract coronavirus have mild or no symptoms at all.

The order in is in effect for the next 14 days and will be reevaluated on an ongoing basis.

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