Conch Republic Is Closed To Visitors Until Further Notice
As Key West continues to recover from the hit it took from Hurricane Irma, officials are asking tourists to stay away for now.
While residents have been allowed to return to Key West and the Florida Keys, the areas are open only to locals, business owners and those assisting in the recovery. Key West does not have power and Duval Street is deserted, an unusual situation in this bustling tourist destination.
“Keys officials are still asking vacationers to postpone immediate plans to visit the region,” a message posted on Monroe County’s Keys recovery website stated. “The Keys remain under a state of emergency and recovery efforts are still ongoing, officials stressed, adding that infrastructure has not been fully restored.”
Power has been out in Key West since the hurricane hit and while many hotels and businesses report only minor damage – the famous bar Sloppy Joe’s says it was largely untouched – there are concerns about water, cleanup of the area and of first taking care of locals and businesses before the town can accommodate tourists.
Some hotels had hoped to reopen by mid- to late September but now its seems it may be early to mid-October before the Conch Republic is ready to receive visitors.
Major fall events, however, are on as planned. Fantasy Fest in late October is going ahead as scheduled. Meeting of the Minds and the Keys Poker Run for powerboats are also taking place, both in early November.
“Irma is not invited,” Fantasy Fest declared on social media.