In detailed discussions with the Florida Dept. of Health in Monroe County, it is not anticipated that Monroe County will reopen to visitors in May. Monroe County understands there has been community discussion on opening dates for lodging and attractions, but because of the continued threat of COVID-19 in areas outside of Monroe County, not allowing visitors back to the Florida Keys will still be in place throughout May, and potentially longer given the state of the virus.
Monroe County Emergency Management and the Department of Health in Monroe County will monitor the results of each measure as it is relaxed, before moving on to the other phases.
Monroe County is still under a local state of emergency and has begun coordinating the draft framework with local municipalities to ensure a safe and unified approach to the “new normal.” As stated in a previous press release, the relaxing of protective measures may be considered when there are no new cases or a steady downward trend in the Florida Keys for at least two weeks, and analysis of results as testing becomes more widespread. The timeline for applying any benchmarks will not be tied to specific dates and the potential phases may move faster or slower. If issues re-arise, protective measures could be re-implemented.
The framework’s first phases are designed to provide some relief for residents of the Florida Keys and include opening outdoor recreational facilities throughout Monroe County and to begin the re-opening of non-essential businesses. These will be done after reviewing the actions of Miami-Dade, Broward, and Palm Beach counties.
Once benchmarks are met for the containment of the virus in a broader geographic area (including Miami-Dade, Broward, and Palm Beach counties), the final phases would include reopening lodging, removing the checkpoints coming into the Florida Keys, and lifting screening measures at the airports. Right now, the checkpoint has been beneficial in keeping the Florida Keys’ curve flat and Monroe County will continue to work with F-DOT to keep it in place.