Updated Oct. 1, 2017
FLORIDA KEYS — The Florida Keys reopened to visitors Sunday, Oct. 1, following recovery efforts after Hurricane Irma impacted the island chain Sept. 10.
Local officials chose the reopening date based on the speedy completion of significant infrastructure repairs, almost total restoration of utilities, and necessity of resuming the tourism-driven economy that employs about 50 percent of the Keys workforce.
“By welcoming visitors to the destination, it will provide the jobs and the hope that our residents are looking for so they can begin to rebuild their lives,” said Stacey Mitchell, director of marketing for the Florida Keys tourism council.
While Key Largo and Key West were least affected by the storm, not all lodging properties, including RV resorts, and other tourism facilities throughout the Keys are operating on a normal basis. Potential visitors should call ahead to ensure that hotels and their favorite attractions are open.
In addition, recovery efforts are ongoing, especially in the Lower Keys and parts of Marathon where many residences and businesses were hardest hit by the storm.
“It’s been a road of recovery and continues to be so, but we’ve made enough progress where the infrastructure is ready to accept visitors,” said Mitchell. “By the visitor coming down, they’re helping in the recovery and being part of that process.”
Visitors will find the Key West and Marathon airports open as usual, and the Port of Key West hosting cruise ships again. The Florida Keys Overseas Highway has passed inspection and is easily drivable throughout the 125-mile island chain.
Even Key West’s Southernmost Point marker, being repainted after damage from Irma.
A number of Keys special events scheduled for mid to late October — including Key Largo’s Oct. 18-22 Humphrey Bogart Film Festival, Key West’s Oct. 20-29 Fantasy Fest and Marathon’s Oct. 21 Stone Crab Eating Contest — are to take place as planned, according to organizers.
Florida Keys visitor information: fla-keys.com or 1-800-FLA-KEYS (1-800-352-5397)Florida Keys recovery information: keysrecovery.orgSocial: Facebook • Twitter • Instagram • Youtube • Keys Voices blog More Florida Keys News
Current Florida Keys Events
Apr. 7, 2017 – Nov. 30, 2017
Key West Fishing Tournament
Doris Harris 305-923-5934
• More than 40 species of fish are targeted during these months, with divisions for men, women, junior anglers (ages 10 to 14) and Pee Wees (under 10 years old). The Key West Fishing Tournament strongly encourages the release of game fish. All participating anglers receive certificates noting their catches and qualify for a variety of prizes.
Oct. 1, 2017 – Oct. 15, 2017
• An annual mouthwatering promotion that celebrates affordable pricing at participating hotels and restaurants. Fans of fine food can enjoy multicourse prix fixé meals at select Key West restaurants during the event ‘cooked up’ to showcase indigenous cuisine and the talents of Florida Keys chefs. Register for free to take advantage of deals.
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