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Post Hurricane Irma Key West Updates & Resources

Key West Community Updates on Hurricane Irma


Tourism Ban Lifted

The City of Key West is now open for tourism. The official opening date is Sunday, October 1, 2017, however tourists are welcome now.

Curfew Hours Changed in Middle and Lower Keys

Monroe County curfews change tonight in some areas.

  • Upper and Middle Keys and Key West: 12 a.m. to 6 a.m.
  • Lower Keys: 10 p.m. to 6 a.m.

Snake Creek Drawbridge resumes regular operations Monday

The Snake Creek Drawbridge in Tavernier has been repaired by FDOT. On Monday, the drawbridge will resume regular operations for openings for mariners.


Blue Roof Program To Cover First Keys Home Friday

Operation Blue Roof, which provides no-cost temporary repairs for roofs damaged by Hurricane Irma, will cover its first Keys home -- on Ramrod Key -- Friday morning.

The program is headquartered at 30320 Overseas Highway, Big Pine Key, from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m.

U.S. Army Corps of Engineers contractors will install the temporary roof covering at no charge.

  • Only primary residences with standard shingled roofs are eligible.
  • Metal roofs and mobile homes will be repaired as practical on a case by case basis.
  • Roofs with greater than 50 percent structural damage are not eligible.

To get assistance, you must sign a “Right of Entry” (ROE) form to allow Corps staff and contractors to access your private property and assess roof damage. Residents can complete a ROE at the Marathon Home Depot.

For more information, call 888-ROOF-BLU (888-766-3258)

Florida Department of Health-Monroe County Lifts Precautionary Swim Advisory for Five Keys Beaches

Florida Department of Health in Monroe County has lifted its precautionary swim advisory for five Keys public beaches:

  1. Founders Park Beach
  2. Smathers Beach
  3. Higgs Beach
  4. Bahia Honda Oceanside
  5. Bayside Beach

The swim advisory remains in effect for the following beaches, which have yet to be tested:

  1. John Pennekamp
  2. Fort Zachary
  3. Bahia Honda Sandspur

Swimming is not recommended in areas that have failed their water quality test or have not been tested since the storm. You should assume that water contact may pose an increased risk of disease, particularly for immunocompromised individuals.

Additionally, residents should avoid contact with floodwaters. Flood water may contain fecal matter from sewage systems, agricultural and industrial waste and septic tanks.

Keys Tourism Advisory

News and Information from the Monroe County Tourist Development Council

Restoration Efforts Well Underway in the Florida Keys
Restoration progress continues to be made in the Florida Keys following impacts from Hurricane Irma. During a Thursday Monroe County Emergency Management conference call, the Florida Keys Electric Cooperative reported restoration of almost 100 percent of their customer base that is able to accept power, from Ocean Reef in North Key Largo through Marathon. FKEC officials said they would start releasing mutual aid crews from other areas of Florida and the U.S.

Keys Energy officials indicated that some 95 percent of power had been restored from Key West to Crane Boulevard on Sugarloaf Key. Some 400 crews are working in other parts of the Lower Keys from Sugarloaf to the Seven Mile Bridge. If customers do not have power in restored areas, they should contact Keys Energy at 305-295-1010, but officials said not to call multiple times.

The Florida Keys Aqueduct Authority says that all the Keys except Cudjoe and Summerland now have water 24/7. The boil-water order has been discontinued for Key Largo (excluding Ocean Reef) through Tavernier as well as Shark Key through Key West (except Rockland Key). Potability testing is ongoing in other parts of the Keys where a boil-water order remains in effect.

Key West International Airport has reopened for commercial airline service. A Delta flight from Atlanta landed Wednesday, the first arrival since before Hurricane Irma.

The Florida Keys still remain temporarily closed to visitors and a local state of emergency is still in effect. The initial goal for visitors to return remains Oct. 20, the beginning of Key West’s Fantasy Fest, but that date may be advanced.

Wednesday afternoon county, municipal and Monroe County Tourist Development Council officials met via teleconference to discuss an official reopening date for visitors. No decision was made, but the TDC is preparing an emergency post-Irma marketing program and plans to tap into emergency reserves. The program is to start once county and municipal government officials choose a date to reopen all the Keys to travelers. Another conference is scheduled for Monday.

Monroe County and TDC offices are to reopen Monday, Sept. 25.

Irma’s damage impacts vary. Key Largo and Key West have the fewest impacts and properties there have returned or are returning to operative status. Islamorada and Marathon’s facilities on the bayside and gulfside have significantly fewer effects than oceanside. Some oceanside resorts and facilities will require weeks or months to reopen for business.

The Lower Keys were the most impacted area of the island chain and recovery efforts there are likely to take the longest for many residents and businesses.

Monroe County Schools Superintendent Mark Porter announced resumption of school on a staggered start basis.

In Marathon and Key West, the following schools are to open Monday, Sept. 25, for employees and Wednesday, Sept. 27, for students: Stanley Switlik Elementary School, Marathon Middle High School, Gerald Adams Elementary School, Horace O’Bryant School, Key West High School, May Sands Montessori Charter School, Poinciana Elementary School and Sigsbee Charter School.

The following Upper Keys schools are to open Monday, Sept. 25, for employees, with students reporting Thursday, Sept. 28: Plantation Key School, Coral Shores High School, Key Largo School, Ocean Studies School and Treasure Village Montessori.

Schools most impacted by the storm, including Big Pine Academy and Sugarloaf School, are to open to students Monday, Oct. 2, with employees reporting Thursday, September 28.

Key West Collegiate Academy is not able to open yet due to facility issues at Florida Keys Community College. The reopening date for KWCA is to be announced.

Florida Fish & Wildlife Conservation Commission Captain Dave Dipre reports that a preliminary estimate of vessels that are derelict, lost or abandoned in the Keys stands at 1,300. He added that, if a boat is missing, the owner should file a report with the Monroe County Sheriff’s Office so the vessel can be added to a database to make return easier if it is found.


County Seeking Local Volunteers for Recovery Effort
People interested in volunteering with Monroe County to assist in the hurricane recovery effort may report to the Sugarloaf Fire Station (17097 Overseas Highway, Lower Keys) or one of the operating Points of Distribution:

  • Sugarloaf School (255 Crane Blvd., Summerland Key)
  • Big Pine National Wildlife Center (179 Key Deer Blvd., Big Pine Key)
  • Marathon High School (50 Sombrero Beach Rd., Marathon)
  • Marathon Skate Park (200 36th St., Marathon)

Volunteers can register at www.volunteerflorida.org/irma or call the county’s Citizen Information Hotline at 800-955-5504.

Training, meals and refreshments will be provided. Volunteers need to dress for work outdoors, and can be expected to work 4-hour shifts and lift items that weigh up to 30 pounds.

At this time, the county is seeking LOCAL volunteers for this effort. The county does not have housing available for people traveling to the Keys in hopes of volunteering.

Both power companies in the Keys made good progress today.

The Florida Keys Electric Coop, which covers Key Largo to the south end of the Seven Mile Bridge, reports that they have restored power to nearly 98 percent of its customers. Marathon only has 6 streets without power, but the city’s Silver Shores mobile home community suffered severe damage and is still without power. FKEC expects that by the end of the day tomorrow, any property that can accept power will have power.

Keys Energy Service, which covers the rest of the Keys, reported that it has restored power to 76 percent of its customers. About 7,000 customers remain without power, mostly in some of the hardest hit areas around Cudjoe Key and Big Pine Key.

Monroe County still is under a curfew. It’s 10 p.m. to sunrise from Key Largo to Marathon. It’s sunset to sunrise for the hard hit Lower Keys, excluding Key West. And it’s midnight to sunrise for Key West.

The Florida Keys Aqueduct Authority reports “great progress” on Tuesday: 24/7 water service has been restored to Baypoint and Blue Water Key; Crane Boulevard and adjacent neighborhoods; Sugarloaf Boulevard to Cayman Drive; and Big Pine Key.

The boil water notice has been lifted for Stock Island, Key Haven and from Jewfish Creek to Adams Cut in Key Largo. The rest of the Keys remains under a boil water notice.

Islamorada Parks & Marina
The Village of Islamorada reports that Founders Park and its other nine parks and marina remain closed to the public.

Snake Creek Drawbridge
The Snake Creek Drawbridge in Islamorada will remain shut down and not be opened for boat traffic until further notice. This is to allow traffic to flow smoothly during the influx of people back to the Keys.

Water & Food Distribution
Due to the lack of need, Key West plans to close its two food and water distribution locations at the end of Wednesday.

Monroe County’s Key West International Airport will resume commercial service Wednesday. Delta Airlines and Silver Airlines will resume service Wednesday and American Airlines will start service Thursday.


Keys Open To All Traffic Tuesday at 7:30 a.m.; Florida City Checkpoint Closes
The Keys will reopen to all vehicular traffic at 7:30 a.m. Today. There will no longer be a checkpoint at Florida City.

The Keys are reopening only for residents, business owners and those helping people recover from Hurricane Irma. "The Keys are not ready for tourists yet. If you don’t have to be here, please don’t be here," says County Administrator Roman Gastesi. "The Keys have come a long way in a short time, but we still have work to do to get the Keys ready for visitors."

While the Keys are open, 21 neighborhoods in the hardest hit areas in the corridor between Marathon and Key West will be blocked to everyone other than residents with proof of residency in that location.

These neighborhoods include:

  • District 1 – Big Pine Key to Stock Island
  • Long Beach Road 33MM
  • Key Deer Boulevard / Wilder Road 30.5MM
  • New Found Harbor 30MM
  • Ship’s Way 29.5MM
  • Barry Avenue / Pirates Road 28.5MM
  • State Road 4A 28MM
  • West Indies Drive 27.5MM
  • East & West Shore Drive 25MM
  • Caribbean Drive 24.5MM
  • Spanish Main Drive 23MM
  • Ocean & Cutthroat Drive 22.75MM
  • Drost Drive 21MM
  • Sombrero Beach Road / Anglers Drive 50MM
  • Sombrero Boulevard / 53rd Street 50MM
  • Crane Boulevard 19MM
  • Sugarloaf Boulevard 17MM
  • South Pointe Drive 16.5MM
  • East & West Circle Drive 15MM
  • Blue Water Drive 14.5MM
  • Boca Chica Road 11MM
  • Active Patrol – Blue Water Drive to Long Beach Road
  • Active Patrol – West Indies Drive to Ramrod Key
  • Active Patrol – Stock Island to Big Coppitt Key
  • District 4 & 5
  • Coral Key 63MM
  • Duck Key 60MM
  • Coco Plum Drive 54MM

Citizens Property Insurance Opens Two Catastrophe Response Centers
Citizens Property Insurance has opened two Catastrophe Response Centers in Monroe County:

  1. Murray Nelson Government Center, MM 102 in Key Largo (open daily 7 a.m. to 7 p.m.)
  2. Marathon City Marina, 800 35th Street Ocean, Marathon (open daily 8 a.m. to 7 p.m.)

Citizen’s Property is working on opening a Catastrophe Response Center in the Lower Keys.

At these centers, policyholders can file claims. Some policyholders, whose homes are uninhabitable or severely damaged, can receive advance living expense checks on the spot.

Policyholders also can call 866-411-2742 (24 hours per day) or visit www.citizensfla.com. (Citizens Insurance does not cover flood damage.)

To file a claim at a Catastrophe Response Center, policyholders only need to provide personal identification. However, it would be beneficial to also have your policy number and any pictures/video of your damage. And while this storm’s damage may not meet your policy’s deductible, it does not hurt to file a claim. If another storm hits within one year, the losses can be combined to meet your deductible.

Insurance companies cannot cancel a policy or increase rates if a policyholder files a claim during a catastrophe.

Three Monroe County Landfills Are Now Open to Keys Residents
Three Monroe County landfills are now open to Keys residents. They are located at Long Key (MM 68), Key Largo (CR 905) and Cudjoe Key (MM 21.5). Hours are 8 a.m. - 3:30 p.m., Monday-Saturday.

Residents must show a photo ID to use the landfill, for which there is no charge. (Businesses and contractors will be charged the normal dumping fee.)

Residents can dispose of the following: household garbage, vegetation, recyclables, yard waste, appliances, furniture and certain hazardous materials, including paint, fuel and batteries. (No sludge will be accepted.)

Flares, ammunition and prescription drugs can be taken to any Sheriff’s Office substation for disposal.

Emergency Work Exempted from permitting and Emergency Permits.
Below is the official language detailing emergency changes to building permit regulations in effect due to the state of emergency.

The Monroe County Mayor declared a State of Local Emergency on 9/5/17 and 9/12/17 due to Hurricane Irma. The State of Emergency specified a “threat of danger to the populace inhabiting Monroe County” and that the County “may require expedient action in order to protect the health, safety and welfare of the community.” Due to State of Emergency, certain work will be exempted from requiring a permit, to provide expedient action in order to protect the health, safety and welfare of this community. We are working to help restore your homes and businesses as quickly as possible to a safe condition. Our focus will be permitting to achieve safety.


Monroe County Open to Residents only; Curfew Remains in Place
Monroe County remains closed to anyone who is not a Keys resident or is working in official capacity with the hurricane relief effort.
In order to pass the checkpoint at Florida City, at least one occupant in a vehicle must show proof of residence, either through a photo ID with a local address, or a photo ID and a utility bill, rental agreement or some other document that shows residency in the Keys.

In addition, all of Monroe County remains under a curfew for safety and security reasons. The Florida City checkpoint will close at 8 p.m. to ensure everyone has enough time to get to their destination before the curfew.

In the Upper Keys and Middle Keys, to mile marker 47 (north end of the Seven Mile Bridge), the curfew is 10 p.m. to sunrise.

In the Lower Keys and Key West, it remains dusk to dawn.

Anyone out after the designated times is subject to arrest.

Important information about FEMA Assistance
Keys Residents looking for information and guidance on registering for disaster assistance have the following options to contact the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA):

  1. Call 1-800-621-3362
  2. Visit DisasterAssistance.gov
  3. In person at the Old Town Key West Fire Station #2 (616 Simonton Street)

Disaster Medical Assistance Teams in place in the Lower Keys
There are currently two Disaster Medical Assistance teams in place to serve the lower Keys. These are basically fully operational field hospitals that are replacing area hospitals that were damaged and out of service due to Hurricane Irma.

One of these hospitals is located at the Marathon City Hall and the other is located at the Florida Keys Community College across from the Lower Keys Medical Center. The Lower Keys Med Center is closed due to storm damage.

Free Pet Emergency Care Available in Key West
The Veterinary Emergency Response Team opens at noon today for all dog and cat emergencies. They have a fully operational hospital, including an operating room.

The pet hospital is located in the back parking lot of La Trattoria (3593 S. Roosevelt Blvd., Key West). No emergency will be turned away, but please keep in mind they are here for emergency purposes (not vaccines).

All emergency care is at no charge. This team will remain in place until Key West and our local veterinarians are back up and running.


Key West Residents
All Key West Residents will be allowed to return tomorrow (Sunday) morning at 7:30am.

Water Supply
Not all areas have water, but the evening water supply is now 5pm - 10pm. It is still not drinkable.

Hot Meals
Hot meals will be served at Salvation Army on Flagler on Saturday 9/17 at 5:30pm.

HTA Rally 9/17
Meet at the Truman Little White House at 9am after which we will start to clean the grounds.

Home Depot Has Reopened

Curfew Still in effect:
Monroe County’s curfew for the Upper Keys, to MM 73 is: 10pm to Sunrise.  The curfew is dusk to dawn for the rest of the Keys.

Garbage and Postal Information
Regular garbage and postal service returns on Monday 9/18.


Port of Key West
The U.S. Coast Guard reports that the Port of Key West remains closed due to sunken sailing vessels and other navigational hazards in the federal channel.

Coast Guard and Florida Fish and Wildlife Commission boats are the only ones allowed in the port at this time. The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers will come in with salvage equipment to remove the sunken vessels.

"It’s very unsafe for anyone to board or go into these vessels," U.S. Coast Guard Captain Jeffrey Janszen said.

Florida Keys Electric Coop continues to make progress bringing power back to its customers. Some homes have experienced salt water intrusion and won’t be able to accept power until repairs are made.

Keys Energy Services also continues to make progress bringing customers back on line. But progress will be slower in the hardest hit areas of the Keys around the Big Pine and Cudjoe Key areas where 8 transmission poles were lost.

The Florida Keys Aqueduct Authority reports pressure is increasing down its main transmission line as crews continue to shut off leaks. Anyone who sees water coming out of broken lines should contact the FKAA.

Garbage Collection
Waste Management started collecing trash in Key West on Thursday. Be sure to remove your trash cans promptly after they are collected so they don’t hinder the debris collection.

Unincorporated Monroe County: garbage service in the Upper Keys begins Friday. In the Lower and Middle Keys it will begin Saturday.

Monroe County’s transfer station in the Upper Keys opens Friday. The transfer stations in the Lower and Middle Keys open Saturday.

Monroe County’s curfew for the Upper Keys, to MM 73 has changed to 10pm to Sunrise.  The curfew remains dusk to dawn for the rest of the Keys.


Publix at Searstown Shopping Center Reopened: 10am - 4pm
Publix reopened a Key West store on Thursday, resuming grocery service in the wake of Hurricane Irma. The store is running on generators with limited hours.
Address: 3316 N Roosevelt Blvd, Key West, FL 33040

El Meson de Pepe: Free Food for Key West Residents
Thursday, September 14th: Free food from 5-7pm, or until food runs out
Address: 410 Wall Street (Mallory Square) – Key West, Florida 33040

NOAA Helps Residents Check on Their Property
The agency published roughly 36 square miles of satellite imagery taken Monday on its website. It's a quick way for evacuated residents to assess whether their homes are still standing after Hurricane Irma blew through. Click the following link and zoom in to see satellite views of your property: https://storms.ngs.noaa.gov/storms/irma/index.html


Free Landline Telephone Available for Public Use
For our Key West community, our landline telephone at the Shipwreck Treasure Museum will be available for public use on:
Wednesday, September 13 from 10am - 1pm
Thursday, September 14 from 3pm - 5pm
Address: 1 Whitehead Street – Key West, Florida 33040

El Meson de Pepe: Free Food for Key West Residents
Wednesday, September 13th: Free food from 5-7pm, or until food runs out
Address: 410 Wall Street (Mallory Square) – Key West, Florida 33040


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