Attractions and activities supporting gatherings of 10 or more people are being ordered to cease operations by 12 a.m. on Friday, March 20, in the city of Key West. 

That includes gymnasiums, fitness studios, movie theaters, museums and sightseeing vehicles carrying 10 or more passengers and/or crew. It also includes attraction tour vessels and charter boats carrying 10 or more passengers and/or crew, as well as commercial motor coaches, tour buses and similar vehicles carrying 10 or more passengers and /or crew.

In a statement released by the city, in light of the unprecedented measures taken in the city to ensure public health, the city is strengthening its measure to ensure the health, safety and welfare of the community. 

“We appreciate the businesses that are complying with the directives outlined by the city and the state and federal government. We want to especially recognize the businesses who are voluntarily restricting gatherings of more than 10 people,” the statement reads. 

Other closures announced this week include:

  • All bars and nightclubs
  • On-site dining at all restaurants; limited only to take out and delivery
  • Mallory Square
  • Smathers Beach
  • The Southernmost Point
  • All parks and playgrounds
  • All recreational facility, including the PAL and Douglass gyms
  • Suspended the Duval Loop
  • Limited the Ferry Terminal outbound passengers only

The City has established a hotline that is staffed 24/7: 305-809-1101. As of Thursday, there have been no confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Monroe County. For up-to-date information on the status of Monroe County and COVID-19, go to,, or In addition, The Florida Department of Health has put up a 24/7 information hotline: 1-866-779-6121.

Key West’s Smathers Beach is closed until further notice. LARRY BLACKBURN /Keys Weekly

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Jim McCarthy is a Western New Yorkers who escaped the snow and frigid temperatures for warm living by the water. A former crime & court reporter and city editor for two Western New York newspapers, Jim has been honing his craft since he graduated from St. Bonaventure University in 2014. In his 3-plus years in the Keys, Jim has enjoyed connecting with the community. “One of my college professors would always preach to be curious,” he said. “Behind every person is a story that’s unique to them, and one worth telling. As writers, we are the ones who paint the pictures in the readers minds of the emotions, the struggles and the triumphs.” Jim is past president of the Key Largo Sunset Rotary Club, which is composed of energetic members who serve the community’s youth and older populations. Jim is a sports fanatic who loves to watch football, mixed martial arts and golf. He loves to hit the links and play some softball with his Make A Play team. He also enjoys time with family (he's expecting a little boy in October).