© 2023 WLRN
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
Available On Air Stations
The latest updates on the COVID-19 outbreak in South Florida. This page ended its updates as of August 2020. Head here for additional stories on COVID-19 and the pandemic.

Florida Keys Checkpoint Up Indefinitely, Without Help From The State

Monroe County Sheriff's Office
Monroe Sheriff Rick Ramsay, second from left, checks out the checkpoint at the Monroe County line on the 18 Mile Stretch Monday.

When Monroe County put up its check points at the county line on Friday, sheriff's deputies were joined by state troopers who were stationed in the Keys. But not for long, according to Monroe Sheriff Rick Ramsay.

WLRN depends on donors to remain South Florida’s leading nonprofit, most trusted source of news and information. Support our mission by giving monthly as a sustaining member of Friends of WLRN or make a one-time donation of your choice. Thank you. Click here to give.

"The Governor ordered them out. And the Governor is not going to provide us assistance from the National Guard or our state law enforcement partners," Ramsay said. "So they were barely here when they were told that they had to leave."

Cities and other agencies in the Keys agreed to help staff the two checkpoints. It takes 22 people over each 24-hour period to keep the checkpoints going. Ramsay said he doesn't know why the state troopers were pulled.

"Two hours after he pulled ours, he did his own checkpoint in North Florida on I-10 on a macro scale," Ramsay said. "Ours is a micro-level compared to what he did. And he did the same thing we did here for the same reason, public health, trying to contain the spread of the virus in the state."

By Monday morning, Ramsay estimated they'd turned away about 2,500 people. The county says the checkpoints will stay up indefinitely with "periodic review," meaning "as needed, or when issues or arise, or when Coronavirus is no longer an issue," a county spokeswoman wrote in an email.

Nancy Klingener covers the Florida Keys for WLRN. Since moving to South Florida in 1989, she has worked for the Miami Herald, Solares Hill newspaper and the Monroe County Public Library.