Key West beaches remain officially closed, contrary to local rumors swirling around the island about Smathers Beach and Dog Beach being open and occupied.

“Key West beaches are not officially reopened,” Key West City Manager Greg Veliz told The Weekly on Saturday, April 18. “Some of the barricades blocking the beach entry steps at Smathers Beach were removed, but we have not ‘walked back’ any official restrictions.”

That said, Veliz added, “I understand that people want and need to get outside. But they need to do so responsibly and in keeping with the social distancing orders. Are we arresting people for being on a beach? No. But if we see gatherings and people ignoring the rules that are in place for everyone’s safety, then we’ll have to tighten things up again.”

The city of Key West closed its beaches and several public landmarks and attractions the week of March 17. A police officer initially was posted at Smathers Beach to enforce the closure. That enforcement has lessened in the past week, but will return if people refuse to follow the restrictions and rules that remain in place, Veliz said.

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