Florida Keys will reopen June 1 in the midst of COVID-19 pandemic

The popular string of beaches has been closed since late March

KEY WEST, Fla. — The Florida Keys will reopen to tourists on June 1, more than two months after the island chain closed to visitors to minimize the spread of the coronavirus.

Checkpoints that barred visitors from coming into the Florida Keys will be removed next month and hotels and other lodging establishments, including campgrounds and vacation rentals, will also be allowed to reopen at 50% occupancy, Monroe County Emergency Management said in a statement on Sunday.

These businesses must implement sanitation stations and follow the American Hotel and Lodging Association’s cleaning guidelines for COVID-19, the statement said. Airport screenings and bus restrictions will also be lifted in June.

The decision to reopen comes amid the low coronavirus infection rate in the Florida Keys, the Miami Herald reported. As of Sunday, Monroe County had 100 positive coronavirus cases and three deaths due to the virus.

The beach at Siesta Key, Florida, will be among venues that will reopen Monday after the commissioners in Sarasota County approved limited use.

Credit: Getty Images/File

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Credit: Getty Images/File

If the Florida Keys experience a surge in cases after reopening in June, “restrictions may be heightened and amenities may again be closed,” the statement said.

The move to reopen was the “toughest decision” Monroe County officials had to make, Monroe County Spokeswoman Kristen Livengood told the Miami Herald.

The Florida Keys had been closed off to non-residents since March 22. Checkpoints at U.S. 1 and State Road 905 were set up five days later to bar visitors from coming into Monroe County.