Report Vacation Rental Noncompliance with Emergency Directives

Vacation Rentals: To report short term vacation rentals not complying with the emergency directive, please call the Tax Collector’s Transient Rental Hotline at 855-422-4540. The tax collector’s office will be following up with the non-compliance of the directive throughout Monroe County.

Remember, the ban does not include rentals for military, first responders, health care workers, and construction workers actively engaged in projects in Monroe County.


Monroe County Libraries are Closed for In-Person Visits; Virtual Programming Continues

The Monroe County Library System branches are now closed to in-person visits until April 6. While physical locations will be closed due to safety concerns regarding COVID-19, the libraries will continue to serve the community. Library staff will be available by telephone Monday through Saturday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. for reference, renewal of material, and assistance for new users in the creation of an E-Library card. The E-Library card will allow users access the library system’s digital collection and electronic resources. The “Ask-a-Librarian“ service will be expanded to provide reference services via chat and email. Librarians will provide, using the branch’s respective Facebook Live and website pages, daily virtual programming such as story time, book talk on our digital collection, and training sessions on our digital resources. Drop boxes will remain open at all locations and late fees will be suspended. Contact your local branch library or visit the library website at www.keyslibraries.org for additional links and information.


Florida National Guard is Responding to Needs

The Florida National Guard (FLNG), under the direction of Gov. Ron DeSantis, is responding to the needs of the state alongside our interagency partners, helping to protect citizens and guests throughout this crisis.

The Florida National Guard has 1,010 Guardsmen on State Active Duty in support of Florida’s COVID-19 response, and is preparing to expand support to Community-Based Testing Sites (CBTS) in Miami-Dade and Orange counties in the near future.

The Broward County CBTS administered 531 sample collections yesterday, for a total of 1,276 since operations began there.

The FLNG Citizen-Soldiers and Airmen are also mobilized in support of the State Logistics Readiness Center (SLRC) in central Florida, ensuring needed supplies are getting to the right place at the right time across the state. Additionally, FLNG members are working in the State Emergency Operations Center and local emergency management offices across the state, serving as liaisons, ensuring local authorities understand the capabilities and equipment of the FLNG.

As this crisis continues, the Florida National Guard will maintain a ready force across the state for a variety of missions to include medical support and distribution of necessary commodities.

It is important to remember that even though the FLNG is in active response to COVID-19, all FLNG personnel and families are encouraged to follow the guidance put out by the Florida Department of Health and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. For more information about COVID-19 and the State of Florida’s response, visit www.floridahealth.gov/diseases-and-conditions/COVID-19/covid19-toolkit.html.


Monroe County Sheriff’s Office headquarters and substations to be closed to the public due to COVID-19 until further notice

In an effort to maintain public safety due to the threat of COVID-19, Monroe County Sheriff Office headquarters on Stock Island and the substations on Cudjoe Key, Marathon, Islamorada and Plantation Key closed to the public effective 5 p.m., March 20 until further notice.

Citizens will not be able to access lobbies or buildings, however non-emergency phone lines to the Sheriff’s Office offices will remain available during normal business hours.

The closures are being taken in-step with Monroe County and local municipal governments in an effort to protect the residents of the Florida Keys. 

All emergency services will still be provided as usual and that includes 911 phone services (Please see special note below).  

This announcement does not affect Sheriff’s Office employees who are to report to work or work from home as per their supervisor’s instruction.

Special Note: Please do not call 911 or the Communications Center non-emergency phone line for COVID-19 questions. 911 is strictly for emergencies only.

Our non-emergency lines will be open:

  • Headquarters, 5525 Stock Island, 305-292-7000
  • Cudjoe Key, 20950 Overseas Highway, 305-745-3184
  • Marathon, 3103 Overseas Highway, 305-289-2430
  • Plantation Key, 50 High Point Road, 305-853-3211

 For COVID-19 questions call these hotline numbers:

  • Florida Department of Health (Monroe County) 866-779-6121
  • City of Key West, 305-809-1101

Dry Tortugas National Park closes campground on Garden Key

Dry Tortugas National Park is announcing modifications to operations to implement the latest guidance from the White House, Centers for Disease Control & Prevention (CDC), and local and state authorities to provide for the safety of visitors and park staff. Dry Tortugas National Park has closed the campground and the campground restroom on Garden Key until further notice. Where it is possible to adhere to the latest health guidance, park waters, Loggerhead Key, Garden Key with Fort Jefferson and the harbors will remain open at this time. No restrooms or visitor services are available. The visitor center and bookstore remain closed. Visitors to the park should be self-sufficient.

Dry Tortugas also offers a variety of digital materials on the park’s website and videos on YouTube. Follow @DryTortugasNPS on social media for continued education and updates.

The health and safety of our visitors, employees, volunteers, and partners at Dry Tortugas National Park is our number one priority. The National Park Service (NPS) is working with the federal, state, and local authorities to closely monitor the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) situation. We will notify the public when we resume full operations and provide updates on our website and social media channels.  

The NPS urges visitors to do their part when visiting a park and to follow CDC guidance to prevent the spread of infectious diseases by maintaining a safe distance between yourself and other groups; washing your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds; avoiding touching your eyes, nose, and mouth; covering your mouth and nose when you cough or sneeze; and most importantly, staying home if you feel sick.  


Elections Offices closed to public

Monroe County Supervisor of Elections, R. Joyce Griffin announced that normal operations in her three offices are suspended and offices are closed to public access beginning March 20 until April 20, in response to the coronavirus pandemic.

“We’re taking these measures because I believe it’s critically important to do our part to address this urgent public health issue,” said Joyce Griffin, Monroe County Supervisor of Elections. “At the same time, I’m committed to addressing the needs of our candidates, voters and the public remotely — through our website, email, phone — and by appointment when necessary.”

Monroe County residents can register to vote, update their voter registration information or sign up for Vote by Mail online at www.KeysElections.org, by email at [email protected], or by calling (305) 292-3416 in Key West; (305) 289-6017 in Marathon; or (305) 453-8740 in Key Largo.

Candidates or those wanting to be a candidate for office can contact us at (305) 292-3416 in Key West; (305) 289-6017 in Marathon; or (305) 453-8740 in Key Largo or by email at [email protected].

The following public meetings required to complete the 2020 Presidential Preference Primary will still be held at 530 Whitehead St. #101, Key West, FL 33040.

  • March 27, 4:30 p.m.: Certify official results
  • April 1, 10 a.m.: Conduct manual audit of election

FKAA offices closed to foot traffic

The Florida Keys Aqueduct Authority (Authority) will be suspending in-person services at its three customer service offices effective Monday, March 23. The authority is also suspending in-person services with customers in the field. The drive-through window at the Tavernier Customer Service Office will remain open. The authority is encouraging customers to use the variety of online service options available to manage their account at www.fkaa.com. This includes making payments, monitoring consumption, applying for meter installations, and a variety of other programs.


FKEC closing customer service offices to public

In response to the CDC’s guidance to implement social distancing to slow the spread of Coronavirus (COVID-19), the Florida Keys Electric Cooperative is suspending in-person services at its Tavernier and Marathon customer service offices effective Monday, March 23. FKEC is also suspending in-person services with customers in the field. The drive-throughs at both office locations will remain open, and our inclusive online services are available 24/7.

FKEC encourages members to visit www.FKEC.com for a wide range of online services, including bill payment, account management, start/stop/transfer service, and a variety of other programs. Almost any service you can do in person you can do online at www.FKEC.com. Payments by phone can also be made via our secure phone payment system at (855) 385-9912. 

Co-op member service representatives can also be reached at [email protected] or call (305) 852-2431 with any questions, Monday through Friday, from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.. An emergency operator is also available around the clock.

FKEC crews will still be on-call 24/7 to restore power should an outage occur. Should you see crews working in the field, please keep a safe distance to protect yourself from dangers associated with electrical repairs and the spread of COVID-19.

Please know, during times of concern and crisis, FKEC remains dedicated to serving the Upper and Middle Keys communities. Be assured, FKEC is here to meet our member’s electrical needs. For more information, visit www.FKEC.com, or follow us on Facebook.


Keys Energy Services halts in-person customer service  

Effective Monday, March 23, Keys Energy Services (KEYS) is indefinitely suspending in-person services at its James Street headquarters in Key West.

Utility crews also will begin practicing enhanced social distancing procedures while working in the field. Customers are asked to remain indoors while crews are working on their property. 

If customers do not abide by this request KEYS’ crews have been directed to immediately stop their work and leave the site to ensure their safety.

The electric utility encourages customers to use online options to conduct bill payments, service connection/disconnection/transfers and service requests at KeysEnergy.com. Customers may also email at [email protected] or call 305-295-1000.

There are no current plans to alter billing practices, but those experiencing hardships should use the same contact information to discuss payment arrangements.


Early shopping for seniors

Both Publix and Winn-Dixie have special shopping hours for seniors. 

Publix will be designating Tuesday and Wednesday mornings, from 7 to 8 a.m., as senior shopping hours for customers age 65 and over throughout the state of Florida. This change in hours will begin Tuesday, March 24, and continue until further notice. Publix pharmacies will also open at 7 a.m. on Tuesdays and Wednesdays to serve our senior population. Regular store hours, companywide are from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. and pharmacy hours are 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. According to the CDC, individuals over the age of 65 are at an increased risk of complications from the COVID-19. Publix is offering these expanded hours to better support our elder community. 

Winn-Dixie welcomes senior shoppers from 8 to 9 a.m. Monday through Friday in all of its stores. In addition, all pharmacy locations will be open at 8 a.m. The parent company Southeastern Grocers (of Winn-Dixie and Local Fresco) are also hiring individuals who have been affected by coronavirus layoffs, including those in the hospitality and restaurant industry.


County Clerks and Courts walk-in services closed

Monroe County Clerk of Courts and Comptroller, Kevin Madok, is announcing that public walk-in services to all three offices are suspended beginning March 20 for the next 30 days. This directive will be reassessed in two weeks.  

All normal clerk operations, except for marriage licenses and ceremonies, will continue uninterrupted. Those members of the public wishing to conduct other business at our offices may continue to do so. Drop boxes for documents will be provided in our outer lobbies.

“My goal through this emergency is to continue all services to the public,” said Kevin Madok, Monroe County Clerk of Courts. “Unfortunately, marriage licenses and ceremonies require in-person contacts and therefore will be suspended.” 

The clerk will continue to perform normal duties but encourages the public to conduct business using available on-line services where possible.

Please feel free to contact us online at www.clerk-of-the-court.com or via phone at (305) 292-3458 Key West; (305) 289-6027 Marathon; and (305)852-7145 Plantation Key.


‘Short Time Compensation Program’

The Short Time Compensation Program is a voluntary employer program designed to help employers maintain their staff by reducing the weekly working hours during temporary slowdowns instead of temporarily laying off employees.  

If an employer establishes a Short Time Compensation Plan and an employee meets the qualifications to file an reemployment assistance claim in the state of Florida, the employee will receive a partial reemployment check to supplement their reduced paycheck. The employer must fill out a plan application and meet other standards. The employee must be full-time and meet other standards. To learn more, visit FloridaJobs.org


TODAY’S CASES

According to the Florida Department of Health on March 20 at noon, there is 1 case of COVID-19 in Monroe County. According to the department, 87 patients have been tested, and 19 test results are still pending. Miami-Dade County has 113 cases and Broward County has 124 cases. 

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