Finally, some good news on the post-hurricane front: The Florida Keys are set to reopen to visitors on October 1.
“We know we have a long way to go before the Keys fully recover,” says Monroe County Mayor George Neugent. “But because tourism is our top economic engine and many of our residents’ livelihoods depend on it, we also know that we need to begin asking visitors to return.”
Both Key West International Airport and Florida Keys Marathon International Airport have reopened, as has the Port of Key West for cruise ships.
The island chain has made the most pressing infrastructure repairs, and almost all power and water have been restored. Cell service is working well, but cable and Internet are still having some issues.
Key West and Key Largo were the least impacted by Hurricane Irma, but the Lower Keys and Marathon were hit the hardest. Drivers should use extreme caution when navigating these areas. There are also still significant piles of debris all around the islands that are waiting to be collected.
Not all hotels and attractions are open, and potential visitors should call ahead to make sure they’re open before planning a trip. Some hotels are accommodating displaced residents under a FEMA program.
While some special events have been postponed or canceled, others will continue as planned. Key Largo’s Humphrey Bogart Film Festival, set for Oct. 18-22, Marathon’s Stone Crab Eating Contest, scheduled Oct. 21, and Key West’s Fantasy Fest, slated for Oct. 20-29, are all happening.
Find more information at fla-keys.com, and follow the recovery efforts at keysrecovery.org.