COVID-19 (Coronavirus)

Last updated: April 2, 2020 at 7:30 p.m.

THE KEYS ARE CLOSED TO VISITORS

NEW

Today, Gov. DeSantis issued Executive Order 20-91, which places the entire state of Florida under the “Safer at Home” initiative. This order, which has been implemented in Monroe, Broward, Miami-Dade and Palm Beach counties since Monday, March 30, states that all persons within the state of Florida shall limit the time spent outside their home to only essential activities. 

This order still allows people to take care of pets and engage in outdoor recreational activities, as long as social distancing is observed. Senior citizens and individuals with a significant underlying medical condition shall stay at home and take all measures to limit the risk of exposure to COVID-19. Any business capable of providing delivery, or curbside service is encouraged to do so.

Monroe County and municipalities are closely reviewing the order. For any questions regarding essential versus non-essential, refer to the Governor’s Order.

Florida Keys Coronavirus Cases

The latest update from the State Health Office regarding COVID-19. Monroe County is reporting 38 total cases-- 33 are residents, 5 are non-residents. Among the 38, 20 are travel related, 11 are community acquired, and 7 are currently being investigated. 

Of the 33 residents, 19 are from Key West, 5 Key Largo, 4 Tavernier, and one from each of the cities - Islamorada, Summerland Key, Marathon, and Key Colony Beach. 

7 Hospitalized, 0 deaths

For more info: https://floridahealthcovid19.gov

Updated twice daily. (1) “See the Report” for detailed information by county, including testing numbers and geographic locations and (2) “See dashboard” for summaries by county.

The Health Department will officially confirm any other cases.

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. On Tuesday morning, approximately 1,600 cars have been turned around. 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. Please make sure your ID matches your paperwork. 
  • 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.

DONATIONS

We live in an amazing community! Many residents are showing up at the checkpoint with food and drink donations. The officers and others working the checkpoint are being well taken care of through Emergency Management, so there is no need to provide that kind of support. If you feel like you need to do something to help, checkpoint staff suggests donating non-perishable items to the local food banks or pet food to the local animal shelter, both of which are running short of supplies.

LIMITED FLORIDA KEYS FIRE STATIONS AND THE TAX COLLECTOR’S OFFICES WILL OFFER RE-ENTRY STICKERS FOR RESIDENTS

Monroe County FULL-TIME residents will be able to pick up vehicle re-entry stickers at the county and some city fire stations between 1 and 5 p.m. until further notice. Stickers are also available at the Tax Collector’s Plantation Key, Marathon, and Key West offices from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Please note the below can change without notice.

UNLESS YOU ARE TRAVELING BACK AND FORTH FREQUENTLY, AN ID, UTILITY BILL, DEED, LEASE, OR TAX BILL IS SUFFICIENT PAPERWORK TO RE-ENTER THE COUNTY. REMEMBER THERE IS A CRITICAL SHORTAGE OF PERSONAL PROTECTIVE GEAR THROUGHOUT THE COUNTRY WHILE DECIDING TO GO TO A FIRE STATION TO PICK UP A RE-ENTRY STICKER. MOST IMPORTANTLY, IF YOU DO NOT NEED TO BE TRAVELING, DO NOT TRAVEL.

  • Re-entry stickers are limited.
  • Re-entry stickers are located at Monroe County Fire Rescue stations, except Tavernier.
  • Those in the City of Marathon may pick one up at the Marathon fire station.
  • The City of Key West Police Department is participating. 
  • The City of Key West Fire Department and the Villages of Islamorada fire stations are not participating.
  •  Key Largo Fire Department, the Tavernier station, and the Key Largo Dept. of Motor Vehicles are participating but are currently out of Key Largo stickers. They are on order and when more arrive, we will let the public know.

Residents will need to bring proof of Monroe County residency: local identification, hard copy utility bill, deed, lease or tax bill and the registration of the car that will need a sticker. For the participating fire stations, please knock on the door and show the proof at the window and then move to the parking lot. The firefighter will put on personal protective gear and walk the sticker to you, which may take a few minutes. Please do not come if you are feeling sick for the protection of our first responders.

If you already have a sticker, they do not expire. If you do have a sticker, it needs to be affixed to the driver side front windshield at the checkpoint.

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, New York, Louisiana, or any other area with substantial community spread), 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?

COUNTY NEWS

  • Monroe County renews its State of Local Emergency. The municipalities also renewed theirs. 
  • The County is encouraging the "Safer At Home" South Florida Initiative. If you do not need to leave,

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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EMERGENCY MANAGEMENT SOCIAL MEDIA

CENSUS

RESPOND TO THE U.S. CENSUS ONLINE: If you DO NOT respond to the U.S. Census, Census workers will be required to go to homes that have not responded. You DO NOT need an invitation code to respond online at www.my2020census.gov -- no pin needed. Plan to include everyone you expect to live in your home on April 1.

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.