Key West Express resumes operations as Key West reopens

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The Florida Keys is now open to visitors, and the Key West Express resumed its operations on June 4 from Fort Myers Beach to Key West.

The ship schedule is Thursday through Monday, with no service on Tuesdays and Wednesdays. To keep passengers and crew safe, Key West Express is taking numerous precautions.

Some of those include the following:

* Face masks/coverings must be worn during ticketing, boarding & duration of travel.
* Temperature checks required prior to boarding.
* All individuals within this reservation must arrive together for ticketing, boarding & seating.
* Preprinted or electronic boarding passes & government issued photo ID must be readily available for boarding.

Dave Richards performed June 7 at Rams Heads Southernmost on Whitehead Street.

On a recent trip to Key West, many businesses were reopen. There were some restaurants and stores that were closed permanently. Restaurants that featured live music clearly attracted more customers than those without.

The Keys tourism council’s messaging during COVID-19 continues to stress personal health responsibility as well. 

The Keys were closed to tourists March 22 to May 31 to minimize the potential spread of COVID-19 during the global outbreak. 

Casablanca Hotel and Old Town Tavern on Duval Street.

“Our messaging includes the idea of our visitors embracing protective measures such as hand washing, wearing of facial coverings, social distancing,” said Stacey Mitchell, director of the Monroe County Tourist Development Council, the destination marketing office for the Florida Keys. 

The Keys tourism council’s website highlights protective health practices for visitors to adopt while in the destination.

There’s even a video featuring Dr. Mark Whiteside, Monroe County’s medical director, who messages important safety information.

And signage has been provided to Keys lodging.

“It all boils down to personal responsibility, and it’s up to you,” Whiteside said. “It’s like Smokey the Bear in preventing forest fires: only you can prevent transmission of COVID.” 

The Curry Mansion Inn on Caroline Street

The Keys’ reopening included the removal of health checkpoints on two roads into the island chain, and the suspension of airport health screenings — except for passengers on nonstop flights from designated COVID-19 hotspot states.

EDITOR’S NOTE: Please enjoy some of these photos taken by Jamie Kuser during a recent trip to Key West.

St. Paul’s Episcopal Church at the corner of Duval and Eaton streets remains closed.
Wahlburgers is coming soon to A & B Marina.
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