By Sara Matthis, Mandy Miles and Jim McCarthy
The most important thing to know is this: municipalities in the Florida Keys can take MORE restrictive measures than Monroe County during times of states of emergency, but not LESS. Each municipality is handling it a bit differently:
City of Marathon
Right now, short-term rentals have been suspended within the county. That includes short-term home rentals, City of Marathon mooring balls, timeshares, RV site rentals, etc. The only exceptions are those with leases longer than a month or essential workers. The exceptions are health care workers or construction workers actively engaged on a live work site.
Restaurants may offer only takeout or delivery of food and alcohol subject to existing licenses.
City staff is, largely, working from home. The lobby of City Hall is still open, but residents are stopped there. All in-person meetings, permit submissions and pickups are suspended. A table has been set across the wide corridor and is topped with “in” and “out” boxes for plan and permit drop-offs. No new vacation rental licenses will be issued until further notice.
City beaches and parks are closed. Public boat ramps are closed to visitors.
For more information, see the city’s facebook page by searching “City of Marathon.”
City of Key West
The City has established a hotline that is staffed 24/7: 305-809-1101.
Daily agendas on the city website allow public comment via the eComment feature. Mayor Teri Johnston and City Manager Greg Veliz will read the eComments daily and film a Spotlight segment addressing concerns. These will be available daily on the City’s website, Facebook page, Comcast Channel 77 and AT&T Channel 99.
Key West enacted more stringent restrictions than the rest of Monroe County at the start of the outbreak, closing popular gathering places on March 17: the city-owned Smathers Beach, the Southernmost Point monument and Mallory Square, where the nightly Sunset Celebration occurs.
City officials on March 17 ordered the closure of bars and limited restaurants to takeout and delivery.
Bus route changes: Lower Keys Shuttle reduced hours to 5:30 a.m. to 8 p.m. Last northbound from Caroline and Grinnell streets is at 5:54 p.m. Last southbound from Marathon is 5:34 p.m. RED & ORANGE routes indefinitely SUSPENDED. BLUE & GREEN routes on Sunday Schedule. DUVAL LOOP indefinitely suspended.
Limit bus rides to essential trips, such as medical needs and groceries. Fares have been suspended. Key West Transit has indefinitely suspended in-person services at the Transit Facility on College Road. Customer Service is still available by calling 305-809-3910. Buses are staffed with an individual who will continually wipe down surfaces.
Key West officials are requesting that any business with the city be conducted remotely. For building permits, contact [email protected] and use the eTrakit instructions. Pay parking tickets online at www.cityofkeywest-fl.gov.
All village administrative offices are now closed to the public for at least seven days beginning March 24. This will be reevaluated every seven days. The door to the building will be locked and customers may no longer drop off paperwork in the lobbies. Customers are strongly encouraged to use the CityView Portal for building permits, planning applications, code compliance and making payments.
All parks in the village are closed with the exception of open spaces at Founders Park. Facilities such as basketball court, tennis courts, pickleball courts, fields and walking trails may be used by individuals and small groups of people who live in the same household. Social distancing is urged.
All beaches and other village parks, including Anne’s Beach and Library Park Beach, are completely closed. All restroom facilities at parks and beaches are closed. The area known as the Fills, from MM 77.5 to 79.8, and the boat ramp at Indian Key Fill are closed. Plantation Yacht Harbor Marina Boat Ramp and fuel docks are closed to all but marina residents. No new vessels will be admitted to the marina.