Florida Keys targets October 20 reopening

Florida Keys targets October 20 reopening

The Florida Keys are aiming to re-open for tourists by October 20 after the 125-mile-long Florida island chain was battered by Hurricane Irma earlier this month.

A local state of emergency is still in effect, with local officials continuing to discourage visitors wishing to travel via the Florida Keys Overseas Highway to avoid hindering recovery efforts.

The port of Key West has re-opened for daytime operations and the first cruise ship call since the storm is expected on either Sunday or Tuesday.

American Airlines, Delta airlines and Silver Airways have resumed flights into Key West international airport.

But overnight visitors are being asked to postpone immediate holiday plans throughout the island chain and contact their airlines and hotels for further details.

The Lower Keys, located between Marathon and Key West, received the brunt of the storm and recovery is likely to take the longest for many residents and businesses in that area.

The Keys tourism council’s director Harold Wheeler said: “We’ll be welcoming visitors as soon as we get the full go-ahead from Monroe County officials and cities within our five distinct tourism districts.”

Monroe County administrator Roman Gastesi said: “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.”

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