The Florida Keys Will Reopen to Tourists for the First Time Since Irma

Sep 26, 2017

The Florida Keys will reopen to visitors on Sunday, weeks after sustaining heavy damage from Hurricane Irma, officials announced on Monday.

Officials said immediate infrastructure repairs on the islands are nearing completion, but some hotels, businesses and attractions still haven't resumed normal operation in the midst of some ongoing recovery efforts. The Florida Keys had originally set Oct. 20 as the target date for reopening.

“We know we have a long way to go before the Keys fully recover,” Monroe County Mayor George Neugent said in a statement. “But because tourism is our top economic engine and many of our residents’ livelihoods depend on it, we also know that we need to begin asking visitors to return.”

Shortly after Hurricane Irma struck, FEMA officials said “basically every house” was impacted by the storm and estimated that about a quarter of the homes in the area had been destroyed, according to the Washington Post.

Key West International Airport has already reopened to commercial flights, as has the Port of Key West to cruise ships.

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