The Monroe County Board of County Commissioners met in a special emergency virtual meeting today to discuss protective measures for the Florida Keys with the continuing spike in cases of COVID-19. There was a record number of Zoom participants in attendance. At the meeting, the commissioners decided to not send a letter to Florida Fish and Wildlife (FWC) to cancel lobster mini season, made changes to the County’s COVID-19 Vacation Rental Plan, tweaked its mask ordinance, and closed public parks and boat ramps in Key Largo.
Monroe County sent a vacation rental plan to the Department of Business and Professional Regulation (DBPR) in late May that was approved for vacation rentals to reopen on June 1. Changes to the plan to be resubmitted to the DBPR will include capacity limitations of vacation rentals to two people per bedroom plus two, meaning a two-bedroom vacation rental can have a maximum occupancy of six people. The amended plan will also require that the name and telephone number of the rental manager be posted on a sign visible from the road. The signage requirement will enable neighbors, law enforcement, and code compliance to direct complaints about noise, excessive occupancy, and other violations to the manager.
The County will also limit boat ramp access in Key Largo to follow the Village of Islamorada’s closures. Rowell’s Park and Bay Drive will be closed to the public, and Sunset Point and Harry Harris Park will only accessible by residents from Friday, July 24 to Sunday, Aug. 9. During this time, nonresidents will need to seek a private boat ramp or seek a public ramp elsewhere in the Florida Keys.
The Commission also tweaked its mask ordinance by setting the payable amount of a citation at $250 for violators who do not wish to contest the citation in court. The Board also withdrew a provision requiring businesses to close for three days if an employee tests positive with COVID-19 so that provision can be reworked.
Information on Monroe County’s protective measures regarding COVID-19 can be found at www.monroecountyem.com/covid19.