As of April 8, the City of Key West had no plans to lay off or furlough any city employees, City Manager Greg Veliz told Keys Weekly.
The city held its first virtual City Commission meeting on April 7, with all elected officials and department heads participating via remote video conferencing. Interested viewers could watch the meeting online or television and submit comments and questions via the city’s e-comment function. All questions and comments were read aloud during the meeting.
The city continues to extend its emergency declarations each week, and strongly urges everyone to wear masks in public, particularly in grocery stores, where social distancing becomes more difficult.
City officials are considering forming a COVID-19 Task Force to address long-term economic, social and mental health needs of the community.
“I’d like us to start thinking about and talking about economic recovery,” Mayor Teri Johnston said during the meeting. “We need the brightest minds in our community and elsewhere to start weighing in on our financial recovery.”
— Mandy Miles
All City of Marathon employees are still working full time — either from home or on special projects, said City Manager Chuck Lindsey.
The corner of Aviation Boulevard and U.S.1 is still under construction, and the city plans to remill the curbs and work on the right-of-way on 107th Street and Sombrero Beach Road.
“And, all the parks are getting a facelift — there’s a lot of painting and cleaning going on,” Lindsey said.
He said the building department is getting caught up on permits, and the code department is working full time inspecting projects and managing vacation rental violations.
“We are still conducting inspection services so that our construction businesses can continue to operate,” Lindsey said.
Lindsey said the city has found 8 vacation rentals that were out of compliance, and the occupants asked to leave.
“So far, everyone has complied and we have not had to utilize the Sheriff’s Department,” Lindsey said. “We are taking a very firm stance on this and will report rental homeowners who violate the policy to the state Department of Business and Professional Regulation as well as look at their vacation rental licenses.”
— Sara Matthis
Village council members and staff are set to convene for a meeting on Thursday, April 16. But members won’t be gathering at the Founders Park Community Center. Instead, they will be inside their homes and offices for a virtual meeting on Zoom.
“IT has been working the technology to that, and we’re going to have a staff test on Thursday and probably a second test on Friday,” said Mary Swaney, public information officer.
Swaney said the agenda won’t contain any quasi-judicial or controversial items.
“They are just going to take care of business that needs to happen and that they don’t see as something the community is going to oppose,” she said.
Open spaces and trails at Founders Park remain available for individuals and small groups who live in the same household for walking, biking and other recreation. People using open spaces are urged to continue practicing social distancing.
Last week, the village made the move to close tennis and pickleball courts inside the park. The dog park also remains closed.
The Islamorada Administrative Center remains closed to the public through at least April 19. That will be reevaluated. Most employees are working remotely from home. Village inspectors aren’t currently performing inspections.
The public works department is using additional vehicles so no two workers are in the same one. “Everyone is in their own vehicle,” Swaney said.
— Jim McCarthy