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MAYOR POSTING June 26, 2020
Just released, the Florida Department of Business and Professional Regulation, DPBR, has ordered bars to only allow take-out and bars in restaurants to serve only at tables.
Yesterday, your Commission voted to support the Monroe County ordinance requiring wearing of masks/facial coverings in all businesses. The ordinance also recommends social distancing and carrying a mask when in public in case you come into close contact with someone. This supersedes our emergency order requiring masks/facial coverings.
The county mask ordinance and press release and the DPBR order on bars can be found under the COVID 19 link at the top of this page.
Currently, there is nothing more your city government can do to legislate public protection for COVID 19 unless we reinstitute the more restrictive measures that were in place in May. Personal responsibility will be the key in the long term to combat this virus. With our Keys community open to the public and this new County Ordinance, hopefully we have reached our “new normal” for the time being.
However, your City and County leadership is closely monitoring the rise in infections and hospitalizations. We have 28 new infections in two days and 4 are currently hospitalized. Prior to opening the Keys, we had no hospitalizations for over a month. The Mayors of Monroe County have written a joint letter to Governor DeSantis requesting a statewide mask order. We have many people visiting us from all over the state and they are not accustomed to wearing a mask. If there is a state mask order in place, enforcing ours would be much easier.
Also, a topic of discussion with your City and Keys leadership is how to control large gatherings. Marathon is not allowing people on Sombrero beach for the 4th of July fireworks and we are following suit with closing Sunset Park at sunset on Friday the 3rd until Sunday morning July 5th. How these events playout will help us determine if other scheduled events will be possible.
Stay safe, John
JUNE 12, 2020 MAYOR POSTING
In my message to you last week, I told you how concerned I was about the loss of so many protective measures while at the same time opening the Keys to many visitors. We have also witnessed the spike in cases across the country where protective measures have been greatly relaxed. Further, as I pointed out last week, we are learning more about how COVID 19 is transmitted and masks are an excellent tool to combat it.
Thursday, your Commission approved adding all businesses in KCB to our emergency order requiring masks/facial coverings. In restaurants, masks are not required when seated at a table or bar. Our three largest local businesses are in strong support of continuing the masks/facial covering requirement.
Over the next few weeks, many business across the Keys will be deciding if they want to continue requiring masks in their establishments. Only Key West and KCB require masks city wide. Please be personally responsible for your and your neighbors’ safety by continuing social distancing and wear a mask in public.
You can read the June 12th Emergency Directive by clicking here
MAYOR POSTING JUNE 5, 2020
Today we start phase 2 of the Governor’s plan to recover from COVID 19 with bars open at 50% seating and gatherings of no more than 50. However, I still have strong concerns for our safety for several reasons:
First, Miami Dade, Broward and Palm Beach Counties are still in phase one and for good reasons. That leaves their beaches closed along with other restrictions that would invite their residents to come to the Keys for relief.
Second, we are about to invite many vacation renters to the first full week of the summer rental season in our close to 500 rental homes in KCB. We also have been told that most of them will come from South Florida.
Third, I feel the stronger restrictions we had in place that have kept us healthier than most tourist heavy counties are being removed too fast. I am all for opening our economy, but as we learn more about COVID 19 we are seeing more studies that support wearing masks in public as the top way to stop the spread of the virus. I was a supporter of the County’s order to require them.
But, Thursday, the County failed to pass an ordinance that would continue the requirement to wear masks in public establishments when not eating or drinking. However, they still strongly recommend it. I am genuinely concerned for your safety, so I am asking each of you to take it upon yourselves to wear a mask in public establishments and ask each of our businesses to require them of customers and staff. Further, I have directed the City to require masks when you conduct business in a KCB city facility.
Thank you for tolerating the restrictions to date and bear with us a little longer to keep our neighbors, friends, and families healthy.
MAYOR POSTING MAY 31, 2020
As we welcome back visitors to Key Colony Beach on Monday June 1, we want to ensure all are safe and knowledgeable of the COVID 19 emergency orders from Monroe County and the State. Our staff has provided our property managers a one-page handout to be given to each vacation renter and hotel guest. It summarizes important information to ensure each guest stays healthy and feels welcome. Click Here for Handout.
As a reminder to our vacation rental property managers, the City of Key Colony Beach only allows rentals for a minimum of 7 days. Further, the County has ordered that reservations cannot be taken for occupancy prior to June 1, 2020. Therefore, a rental agreement/contract starting on June 1, 2020 must extend at least until June 8, 2020. No backdating to May 30, 2020 for checkout on June 6, 2020.
Please be mindful for your guests that our emergency orders may be different from where they permanently reside. Inform them that masks/facial coverings are required in the Keys in public locations like stores, and social distancing of 6 feet is required.
Keep updated by referencing daily to the Monroe County Website for COVID 19 information.
Mayor DeNeale’s Message – May 18. 2020
So now that we have a date for opening the Keys, June 1, what are the next steps?
The checkpoint will come down at 12:01AM on Monday June 1.
The County must submit a plan for opening Vacation Rentals to the State’s Department of Business and Professional Regulation (DBPR). What we know is that the County is considering opening at 50% occupancy and cleaning standards will be addressed in the plan. I do not know if they will require professional cleaning services.
If that plan is approved by June 1, Vacation Rentals may open
Mayor DeNeale Update – May 15, 2020
Currently, we are in the middle of phase one of at least two weeks of our reopening plan. Monday, May 4th we started reopening restaurants at 25% capacity and our parks. This process is going well. However, the medical community tells us that we need at least two weeks to see the results of the reopening. There are still many cases under investigation and testing is not nearly what we would like to see. Since phase one began, we have had a 17.5% increase in COVID -19 cases in the Keys, but many other signs look exceptionally good like hospitalizations at zero.
That said, your Keys leadership is committed to moving forward with plans for further easing to help our economy and return to the lifestyle we enjoy in the Keys. It is encouraging that Miami Dade County will start their reopening phases on Monday, the 18th as their COVID-19 rate of infection has eased. I do not have any insight into the Governor’s plan to enter phase 2, but we are working hard to ensure it will be a success when he does. Local taskforces are making recommendations for safely opening businesses across all Keys industries. Phase 2 recommendations by the State Taskforce allow greater flexibility for businesses, restaurants, and social gatherings up to 50. We will also start regular Commission meetings in City Hall along with continuing ZOOM internet access.
I cannot tell you when we will reopen the Keys for tourists, vacation rentals and hotels, but I feel we are close to announcing a date, hopefully, in the next week. We must coordinate our reopening plans with our South Florida neighbor counties and most importantly, the Governor.
PLEASE GO TO WWW.CENSUS2020.GOV AND COMPLETE YOUR CENSUS.
Mayor’s Message April 30, 2020 “Phase One Relaxation Measures”
As Mayor of Key Colony Beach, in coordination with our partners in Monroe County, I am directing the City to follow the Governor’s recommendation to open restaurants and businesses in line with his order number 20-112, effective 12:01 a.m. on Monday May 4, 2020. I feel we can relax protective measures for our residents due to the continuation of the checkpoint into the Keys. County leadership strongly maintains that the Keys are closed to visitors and the checkpoint must stay in place until our sister counties to the north have COVID 19 under control. For that reason, the County Mayors signed a joint letter to the Governor requesting the checkpoint be maintained.
Additionally, the Commission voted today to open our parks and recreation facilities starting Monday morning (May 4) during normal operating hours except for the children’s playground equipment. It is just too hard for us to ensure cleanliness of that equipment.
These relaxation steps are to help you, our residents, obtain some normalcy in your lives and get us back to work safely. We ask that you still maintain social distancing and other personal protective measures per the Governor’s guidelines.
Mayor John DeNeale
MAYOR POSTING FOR APRIL 25, 2020
The City just signed our 7th weekly COVID-19 Emergency Declaration, so I want to give you an update on what your City and County Leadership is doing.
First, the Keys Mayors meet every weekday via Zoom and discuss needs, protective measures and how to move forward into a new normal. Emergency managers and attorneys meet on different schedules.
The Governor’s taskforce is working this weekend to provide recommendations for the economy, and he hopes to report to the State near the end of the week. Thursday is the best guess if the taskforce is done with their charge.
The County has formed its own taskforce with representatives across the county and by industry. KCB has four representatives on various workgroups. These workgroups will help determine the protective measures needed going forward as we relax and get back to work.
Our hope is that the Governor will allow us to relax our orders on a regional or county level. This way the Keys can safely reopen given the challenges we face with our limited medical facilities and the tourist demand we will see from hot spots to our north. The Tourist Development Council tells us that this time of year, most of our guests come from areas that have not peaked in new cases (mostly South Florida).
The State and County are following a phased approach based on federal guidelines that starts with relaxing recreation (parks and beaches), then businesses (restaurants then bars, etc.), then hotels and vacation rentals. The phases are dependent on the level of infections in Southeast Florida and our ability to provide medical care for all. Therefore, we should not open the Keys until Southeast Florida does. The County does not envision opening hotels and vacation rentals in May.
Once again, the emergency management chain of command is the State, County then KCB. By this time next week, I hope to have more details on our plans.
MAYOR’S MESSAGE April 15, 2020
The talk around the Country is when are we going to reopen? That is a very hard question for the Keys with many moving parts due to guidelines from the President and follow-on decisions from the Governor. Unlike Hurricane Irma, which was strictly a Monroe County decision based on basic human needs and emergency medical availability, today, we must coordinate opening the Keys with Miami Dade, Southeast Florida, and the State.
Keys leadership is very saddened with the loss of life and the cases we have, but optimistic with the lower rates we are showing compared to our neighbors to the north. Until I see a big reduction in the Miami Dade infection rates, I want to keep the checkpoint in place. If we lose the checkpoint, our emergency orders to close hotels, vacation rentals, parks, etc., becomes paramount to ensure our safety.
Your Keys leadership, together with the KCB Commission, continues to monitor these issues and will act accordingly to ensure we have the right balance to protect the Public Health.
Rest assured, Keys leadership discusses these issues daily.
April 8, 2020
As we enter our second month of emergency orders to combat the spread of COVID-19, I am hopeful the limited number of cases in the middle Keys is a sign that the Keys may be turning the corner. As of last night, we only have 2 cases in Marathon and one in KCB.
Additionally, the Florida Department of Health tells us that we have no cases in the Keys related to persons traveling from Miami Dade County (the hot spot in Florida). We must thank Sheriff Ramsay and his fantastic staff with the support of the County and Municipalities for enduring the very difficult task of maintaining the checkpoints coming into the Keys.
Please follow the emergency orders from the Governor, the County, and KCB to continue making strides against this virus. I feel we are ahead of the pandemic in the Keys and your continuing support is necessary to staying healthy and bringing a successful conclusion to this emergency.
Happy Easter & Passover,
MAYOR’S BEE LINE ARTICLE FOR APRIL 2020 March 29,2020
Things have been happening fast in the last two weeks with COVID-19, and numerous decisions have been made to protect the residents of the Keys. We have been trying to keep up with orders from the Governor and the County while doing what is best for KCB. I know that not all our decisions have been popular, but two weeks ago, we were seeing 40 new cases a day in the State and there were 678 new cases Saturday. Further, your Keys Leadership is working to protect us from the Counties just to the north that comprise 59% of the State’s cases (2259 cases) while we in the Keys have 22 cases. I pray every day that I do not see KCB on that list.
For those of you that we asked to leave, thank you. Our decisions were made to protect you also. Our 2 and a fraction small hospitals are struggling to keep critical supplies stocked and our EMS and Police are also short of personal protection equipment. Our back-up is to send patients to Miami hospitals, the largest hot spot in the State.
The decisions from the last several days are targeted at keeping out virus carrying people while still maintaining as much of our economy as possible. We hope to maintain the checkpoints coming into the Keys while allowing workers critical to our businesses to come in daily. KCB has two employees that live in Miami Dade County. This policy is being monitored closely to ensure workers do not pose a risk to the Keys. Numerous “day trippers” have been turned away, totaling 788 cars (approx. 2,000 people) in 48 hours. With our limited manning levels in each department, especially the Police, we can ill afford to have a single person sick, so we are taking very cautious measures to protect them.
Looking ahead, I have asked County Leadership to identify key metrics that should tell us if we need more restrictions or when we can relax some. In the near future, I would like very much to open our parks and have the Governor open restaurants for dining again. Tourism for our many vacation rentals may be a month or two away, but I am hopeful sooner rather than later.
You have been very supportive of our City Government. I thank you and ask that you not become frustrated with our response to this very challenging pandemic.
What is Key Colony Beach? If you are a full time resident, seasonal resident or visitor, you know what a special place this is. Not only are you enjoying a tropical paradise, you are among a great group of people that have kept this little island city the “Gem of the Florida Keys” for more than 60 years. We do ask that our residents and visitors protect our beautiful reef environment, the safety of each other and our friendly tropical lifestyle. Our famous sign, “Honestly now, what’s your hurry?” is not just a reminder that you are off the highway, it is an invitation to enjoy our city, by slowing down on land and in our canals; to “share the road” with our many pedestrians, canal boaters, paddlers, swimmers and manatees. Thank you! – Mayor John DeNeale
“63rd Annual KCB Days”
March 8, 2020
“St. Patrick’s Day Parade”
March 17, 2020
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