KEY WEST, FL–Citing concerns for increasing threats from COVID-19, Monroe County officials said that hotels in the Florida Keys will temporarily close on March 22. Also closing are vacation rentals, guesthouses, short-term rentals in RV parks and vacation rentals.
Hotels were directed to no longer take reservations, and the visitors already checked in must leave by 6 p.m on March 22. This will be in effect for the next 14 days until further notice and will be reevaluated every day. The ban applies to all leisure visitors and all nonessential personnel who are not working in the Florida Keys.
Among the branded properties that have been forced to close are Key West Marriott Beachside Resort; DoubleTree Resort by Hilton Hotel Grand Key – Key West; Baker’s Cay Resort Key Largo, Curio Collection by Hilton; Margaritaville Resort and Marina in Key West; Key Largo Bay Marriott Beach Resort; and Hyatt Place Marathon/Florida Keys on Marathon Key.
Also closing are Oceans Edge Key West Hotel & Marina and Isla Bella Beach Resort on Knights Key. EOS Investors owns Isla Bella and manages Oceans Edge for owner Sunstone Hotel Investors.
“We understand and are in complete agreement with Monroe County’s decision to temporarily suspend all hotel operations in an effort to limit any risks related to the pandemic we are facing as not just hoteliers, but as human beings across the globe,” said Tom Elwood, general manager of Oceans Edge Key West Hotel & Marina. “Our number-one priority during this time is to continue supporting our staff and guests the best that we can. We’ve updated all our booking policies to make it easy to cancel or rebook.”
Justin Nels, managing director of Isla Bella Beach Resort, said, “We are focused on helping our on-property guests adjust their travel plans, as well as those who had preexisting reservations, within the next 14 days and beyond. We are also doing everything we can to support our dedicated staff and their families, including waiving at least the next two months rent payments for the dozens that live in Isla Bella’s on-property employee housing and wish to return to their job as soon as possible.”
According to EOS, 52 employees live on-property at Isla Bella Beach Resort.