The Florida Keys closed for tourism on March 22 at 6 pm and was closed for 72 days, and then it reopened on June 1.
Locals like Stacey Mitchell, the Director of Tourism for the Florida Keys, was able to enjoy her life and the farm-to-table concept, also known as from-the-dock-to-dish kitchen. Locals continued to enjoy the freshest fish in the world, exotic fruits, and giant shrimps.
Sadly, in the meantime, the economy went from 100 to zero percent, demonstrating the reliance of the travel and tourism industry to the economy of the Keys.
After the reopening, the Keys continued to be a tropical exotic experience without leaving the United States or Florida, but it wasn’t ready for flights to arrive. Tourists started to come in from mostly Southern Florida, but after a 4-hour drive, were opting to stay in one of the many small hotels and inns.
It also showed that LGBTQ travelers have many strong emotions for Key West which is known to belong to the most resilient travelers. This was true after 9/11 and seems to be true now. Stacey Mitchell told eTurboNews, “This was already true before Tennessee Williams’ almost 90 years ago. No wonder the famous Island House is known as the “Old Man’s Guest House,” as it is doing a robust business.
In an interview with eTurboNews, Stacey explained their marketing campaign about humility, a destination where you can ignore the pandemic with natural social distancing, and a very unique soft opening approach to allow for fishing, and nback-country quiet time. “Our drive down market was very supportive,”Stacey added.
Today Monroe County (the Keys), has so far had 611 cases (up 39), and 6 deaths, with 7,983 tests given. Three days ago when this interview was conducted, the county had only 472 infections.
Facial masks are required together with social distancing and washing hands. Billboards on the only highway to the Keys are reminding travelers of these requirements.
Restaurants remain open mostly for outside dining, and a visitor should try a drink called Quarantine. It comes with a value add-on, which is a roll of toilet paper. More on Florida Keys here: www.fla-keys.com
Listen to the interview: