Key West has a curfew for New Year’s weekend. Here’s what you need to know
You can count the last moments of 2020 in Key West.
But you can't do it on the street this year.
The city of Key West, unlike the other Florida Keys, has a curfew that can be introduced on New Year's Eve to “protect life and health”. This is evident from the Emergency Ordinance that Mayor Teri Johnston issued on December 4th.
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Visitors and locals who do not work in an important business must be at home or in their hotel rooms or vacation rentals by 10:30 p.m. Starts Thursday, December 31st and ends on Sunday, January 3rd, 6 a.m. All non-essential shops must close after 10 p.m. The curfew ends on Sunday, January 3rd, the order says.
There was a lot of thought going on during the curfew, said city manager Greg Veliz.
"The balance between our community's fiscal and physical health presents us with choices that are not easy to make and I can assure you that they are not taken lightly," Veliz said in a statement. "We urge everyone to adhere to these restrictions in the hope of returning to our normal lives as quickly and safely as possible."
A Key West resident had these bumper stickers made to thank Mayor Teri Johnston for ordering a New Year's Eve curfew.
Johnston's emergency order sparked criticism and compliments from the community.
Some business owners said it would harm the workers.
"How should my employees in the hotel industry feed their families?" asked Mark Rossi, who owns several bars on Duval Street. "How are you supposed to pay your bills?"
Rossi said he was open to a 1am curfew but added, "COVID knows no time."
You have to hurry home. Miami-Dade changes the curfew for Christmas Eve, New Year's Eve.
Restaurants will be hit hard by the curfew, said Scott Atwell, CEO and executive vice president of the Greater Key West Chamber of Commerce.
"Because 10pm that really means your last seats will be at 8:30 pm," Atwell said. "At this time of year, it's the difference between a black finish or a red finish."
A restaurant and bar estimated they will lose about $ 180,000 due to the curfew, he said.
"It could be $ 25,000 to $ 50,000 for a restaurant in the middle of the street," Atwell said.
In the interests of the health, safety and wellbeing of our residents and visitors, the City of Key West has ...
Posted by City of Key West - Government on Thursday December 17th, 2020
Others called it the right move during the novel coronavirus pandemic.
Erin Stover-Sickmen, a Key West resident and artistic director of a local nonprofit, ordered bumper stickers that said, “Thank you Mayor,” and they were quickly caught after posting about them on Facebook.
"It's also a thank you for a job well done," said Stover-Sickmen. "She did a really tough job and I think she did a lot to protect us."
Here's what you need to know:
When exactly is the curfew?
It starts at 10 p.m. New Year's Eve and ends at 6am, January 3rd. Non-essential stores must close at 10 p.m. and people are expected to be home by 10:30 p.m.
Is the curfew citywide or is it only on Duval Street?
The curfew applies to the entire city of Key West.
Are there any exceptions to the curfew?
The curfew does not apply to the police, fire brigade and other first aiders, medical personnel, media representatives or repair personnel.
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