KEY WEST, Fla. - The Florida Keys will reopen to tourists on June 1, more than two months after the island chain closed to visitors to minimize the spread of the coronavirus.
Checkpoints that barred visitors from coming into the Florida Keys will be removed next month and hotels and other lodging establishments, including campgrounds and vacation rentals, will also be allowed to reopen at 50% occupancy, Monroe County Emergency Management said in a statement on Sunday.
"Local leaders are to examine the situation later in June to make determinations regarding relaxing occupancy restrictions," according to a statement.
These businesses must implement sanitation stations and follow the American Hotel and Lodging Association’s cleaning guidelines for COVID-19, the statement said. Airport screenings and bus restrictions will also be lifted in June.
Monroe County officials said new coronavirus infections "have greatly reduce" and the infection rate in Miami-Dade and Broward has slowed. Those were factors that led leaders to consider reopening the Keys for tourism.
As of Sunday, Monroe County had 100 positive coronavirus cases and three deaths.
If the Florida Keys experience a surge in cases after reopening in June, “restrictions may be heightened and amenities may again be closed,” the statement said.
The move to reopen was the “toughest decision” Monroe County officials had to make, Monroe County Spokeswoman Kristen Livengood told the Miami Herald.
The Florida Keys had been closed off to non-residents since March 22 to mimizine the spread of COVID-19. Checkpoints at U.S. 1 and State Road 905 were set up five days later to bar visitors from coming into Monroe County.
Tourism-related updates for the Florida Keys can be found here.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.