Marathon City Manager Chuck Lindsey speaks to a camera crew at Marathon City Hall on Thursday. SARA MATTHIS/Keys Weekly
Florida Commissioner of Agriculture Adam H. Putnam will be in Marathon today, visiting the Monroe County Emergency Operations Center. He will be met with positive news about the recovery of the Keys:
Every municipality and Monroe County is checking every house to see if they are safe to receive electrical service. That function is being carried out by contractors at the behest of local officials. A list of nonfunctional houses will then be passed to the correct electric utility. Once areas are complete, and Florida Keys Electric Cooperative of Keys Energy Services and Keys Energy Service has that information, neighborhoods will be powered. Keys Energy Services, which serves Key West through the lower end of Seven Mile Bridge, has about 200 poles to replace, a time consuming maneuver. One resident said the poles were not tipped over, b snapped in half. Returning homeowners should look for a green sticker, signifying that the structure is safe for electric service, on the mailbox or the breaker box.
The same is happening for water service. In this case, the Florida Keys Aqueduct Authority is inspecting each house for visible damage of the water line from the street to the house. Those with damage are being turned off at the meter. Stock Island and Key Haven have water pressure. The hours of water service in Key West have been extended from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. and again in the evening from 5 to 10 p.m. The Keys remain under a boil water notice. It is safe for bathing, but not drinking.
A curfew remains in effect for the Middle and Lower Keys from sunset to dawn. The curfew in the Upper Keys has been extended to 10 p.m. every evening.
Fishermen’s Hospital is still closed, but a mobile hospital has been set up in the parking lot of Marathon City Hall. Mariners Hospital in the Upper Keys is open. The Lower Keys Medical Center emergency department is open, according to its website; the center has called more employees back to work, but it will take time for them to arrive.
As of Thursday evening, cellular service was restored to the Marathon area. Silent phones stashed in pockets began ringing with text messages and missed calls.
The Monroe County School District is moving toward opening schools. Most likely, they will be opened in phases, according to zones. For Keys students who cannot return to the Keys, the Miami-Dade School District is allowing them to enroll.
Some grocery stores have opened with limited service hours.
The port of Key West is closed. Anyone attempting to enter is subject to arrest.
Re-entry to the Keys remains limited to residents living above MM74.