All hotels and short-term rentals to shut down in Florida Keys

Closure is effective Sunday, March 22 for a period of two weeks

A photo illustration of Key West (Credit: iStock)
A photo illustration of Key West (Credit: iStock)

Monroe County ordered all hotels, guest houses, short-term rentals in RV parks, and vacation rentals to cease operating in the Florida Keys amid the coronavirus pandemic.

The announcement was made due to the increasing number of confirmed Covid-19 cases in counties north of Monroe, the southernmost county in Florida. Monroe announced late Thursday its first case of a positive test for coronavirus.

The order is effective Sunday, March 22 at 6 p.m. for a period of two weeks.

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Hotels in South Florida have so far been allowed to remain open, though some are deciding to close on their own, including the Breakers in Palm Beach.

The Keys, like other parts of South Florida, are heavily dependent on tourism. The market had just recovered from damages incurred from Hurricane Irma in 2017.

Hotels were told to stop taking reservations immediately, and visitors must leave by Sunday at 6 p.m. Monroe County will keep its parks and beaches open for residents with social distancing guidelines in place. All non-essential businesses must maintain fewer than 10 people at a time with a distance of at least six feet between people. Working from home is encouraged.

In Miami-Dade, Broward and Palm Beach counties, all non-essential businesses have been forced to shut down temporarily. The mass closures of restaurants, retail and other businesses is expected to be devastating for the local economy.