On this Monday, July 20, episode of Sundial:

McKinsey’s Government Consulting Work

State and local governments have spent millions of dollars on their Coronavirus response plans — many have turned to private consultants for extra support and advice. 

Nancy Klingener / WLRN

The harbor pilots who guide big ships into the Port of Key West are challenging three proposed city charter amendments that are scheduled to be on the November ballot in Key West.

Joey Flechas / Miami Herald

Hotels and other hospitality businesses are facing a different Fourth of July this year because of the coronavirus pandemic.

COVID-19 cases keep spiking in South Florida and throughout the state. Local governments are instituting restrictions that will likely affect the worry-free vacations that folks would normally be expecting.

Ismael Francisco / AP

Cuba believes it has managed COVID-19 well enough to re-open the island this week to one of its most important economic sectors: tourism. But you won’t see any visitors riding in vintage cars down Havana’s Malecón.

Gwen Filosa / Miami Herald

As the Keys ramp up its tourism economy, hotels are being encouraged to let guests know about COVID-19 tests with results in an hour at the local hospital, and local governments are modifying requirements for masks and temperature checks.


Updated Sunday, May 31: Miami-Dade County Mayor Carlos Gimenez announced Sunday that beaches in Miami-Dade County will remain closed while there is a curfew, following protests against police brutality that were succeeded by looting and vandalism on Saturday night.

The county's curfew runs from 9 p.m. to 6 a.m. In the city of Miami, the curfew starts at 8 p.m.

South Florida beaches and hotels are reopening under new coronavirus guidelines.

Mark Hedden / Special to WLRN

About 2 million people a year visit Key West — and almost half of them get there on cruise ships. With the industry on pause due to the coronavirus pandemic, some folks on the island are working on a reset.

Rob O'Neal / Florida Keys News Bureau

The Florida Keys will be open to everyone again starting on June 1. That's when Monroe County plans to take down its checkpoint at the county line and allow hotels to reopen.

Rob O'Neal / Florida Keys News Bureau

The hotel industry in the Florida Keys normally leads the state in occupancy and room rates this time of year. But the coronavirus has changed everything.

AP Photo/Lynne Sladky

Shipmonk was used to hiring people fast to fill jobs in its expanding Fort Lauderdale wareshouse. Since COVID-19 hit, the company has been telling some job applicants to show up for their first day of work without even an interview.

Mainland South Florida has the most cases of COVID-19 in the state. Monroe County, to the south has far fewer cases — but it's also got a much smaller population. And the Keys have done all they can to wall themselves off.

It's all led to a strange feeling as a place known for welcoming everyone suddenly changes its attitude.

Richard Congdon

This essay was part of an episode of The Sunshine Economy, focused entirely on the impact of the coronavirus on the tourism industry of the Keys:

The Keys may be a chain of islands where we love to talk about our independence and resilience. But we're also a peninsula, permanently tethered to the mainland, starting in 1912 when Henry Flagler ran his railroad tracks all the way to Key West.

courtesy: Keys News Service

Fifty percent unemployment? 

That's the guess from Monroe County Administrator Roman Gastesi. 

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.

Lynne Sladky / AP Photo

Some beaches have closed. Cruise ships are docked. Airlines have grounded some planes. Disney and Universal in Orlando are closed. Local attractions are shut down. Theaters are dark. Hotel reservations are cancelled. Restaurants and bars are closing early.

This business hasn’t slowed. In many cases it has stopped.