Florida Keys

Charles Trainor Jr. / Miami Herald

Monroe County is setting up a roadblock to make sure only Keys residents can drive onto the island chain.

Tourist Towns Without Tourists: Keys Close Down To Visitors

Mar 21, 2020
Nancy Klingener / WLRN

Imagine the Florida Keys without tourists.

Carol Wightman, an owner of the Marquesa Hotel since it opened 32 years ago in Key West, simply can’t.

She was stunned by the county’s decision to shut down lodging to tourists.

“You might as well shutter the whole town,” Wightman said.


After 30 people were tested in the Florida Keys for the novel coronavirus, the Florida Department of Health said late Thursday night there was one presumptive positive COVID-19 case in the island chain.

Shortly after 10:30 pm., a Monroe County spokewoman sent an email saying the case is travel related and has not been confirmed by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

To protect the person’s privacy, health officials did not disclose the name nor the location of the person who has tested presumptive positive.

Mark Hedden / markhedden.com

In a move to prevent the spread of coronavirus, on Thursday evening Monroe County ordered hotels and other tourist lodging — like vacation rentals and RV parks — to close at 6 p.m. on Sunday.

The county cited "the increasing cases [of coronavirus] in the counties north of Monroe County." As of 5 p.m. Thursday, there had been no confirmed cases of COVID-19 in the Keys.

Hotels were directed to stop taking reservations immediately. The order is for two weeks, to be re-evaluated every day.

Original Marathon Seafood Festival

Posted at 4:30 p.m. Thursday, March 12

One of the industries hit hardest by the coronavirus is travel. And the Florida Keys — while having no confirmed cases as of Thursday afternoon — are already feeling the effects.

Courtney Benson

Marine debris — or trash in the water — is a problem everywhere including the Florida Keys. And it got a lot worse when Hurricane Irma crashed across the Keys in September of 2017 as a Category 4 storm.

Nancy Klingener / WLRN

Monroe County voters will have more than just presidential primary candidates to consider on their March 17 ballots—all voters, regardless of party, will be asked to weigh in on an ongoing tax earmarked for teachers.

Courtesy of FAU's Cyberbullying Research Center

On this Wednesday, Feb. 19, episode of Sundial:

Coronavirus in Florida

Florida health officials say they can’t disclose how many people statewide have been tested for the new coronavirus, also known as COVID-19. As of Wednesday, there are no confirmed cases of the virus in Florida. 

The Scripps Research Facility in Jupiter and other research facilities around the country are developing vaccines to address the new coronavirus outbreak.

‘Invisible Oil’ From Deepwater Horizon Spill May Have Reached The Florida Keys

Feb 19, 2020
US Coast Guard / AP

Florida Keys residents may not have seen massive tar balls and fish kills after the 2010 Deepwater Horizon oil spill, but small concentrations of toxic crude were still reaching the islands and potentially harming marine life, as the extent of the deadly disaster in the Gulf of Mexico was worse than originally thought, according to a University of Miami study.

Doug Mader, DVM

The endangered Key deer are one of the iconic animals of South Florida. The small deer are popular with tourists for photos. But, it can be dangerous for the deer when they get too comfortable with humans.

Case in point: Last year, a Key deer buck started showing up at the CVS on Big Pine Key.

Lily Oppenheimer / WLRN

The coronavirus is affecting the local economy through important local industries, like tourism. It's also having a severe impact on another industry — commercial fishing.

Science Channel

Don’t tell Chuck Meier the Bermuda Triangle isn’t a truly mysterious and dangerous place.

Those reports of ships disappearing and unexplained spinning compasses can’t all be fiction, he said.

“Then how do you explain it?” Meier asked. “Christopher Columbus was one of the first people to actually report lights and spinning compasses and things coming out of the water and going into the water. That’s O.G. stuff.”


On this Thursday, Feb. 6, episode of Sundial:

Rep. Debbie Mucarsel-Powell On Trump's Aquittal

On Wednesday, the Senate voted to acquit President Donald J. Trump on two articles of impeachment, that he abused his power and obstructed Congress. 

Forget Hurricanes and Sea Rise. This Bill Could Lead to a Building Boom in the Keys

Feb 3, 2020
Al Diaz / AP

The Florida Keys has been battered by hurricanes, flooded by sea level rise and is gentrifying quickly. But one state lawmaker from Naples wants to add thousands more homes to the island chain, a place many local leaders believe is already built to capacity.

An amendment slipped into a house bill this week seeks to extend the hurricane evacuation time on the archipelago from 24 hours to 30 hours — a move that would effectively bump up the amount of development allowed in the Keys.

Nancy Klingener / WLRN News

All across the Navy, bases are holding drills over the next two weeks to test their security. In Key West, they started out with an active shooter drill at the VA medical clinic on Monday.