Friday, Sept. 22 • 10:30 a.m.
In the wake of Hurricane Irma impacting the Florida Keys, infrastructure repairs and restoration efforts continue, according to Keys officials.
While residents and business owners have been permitted back into the Keys, visitors have been asked to postpone any near-term plans to vacation in the island chain.
Travelers who had near-term reservations should contact their airlines and hotels to change plans. American and Delta airlines and Silver Airways have resumed commercial air service into Key West International Airport. Still, overnight visitors are asked to postpone immediate vacation plans throughout the island chain and contact their airlines and hotels for further details.
Some regions of the Keys were impacted more than others and damage at Keys accommodations' facilities varies from no impacts, except for landscaping, to severe damage because of storm surge. Assessments are still being executed, but it is believed that most tourism facilities will return to operations soon after the restoration of power, water and communications.
All bridges on the Florida Keys Overseas Highway are safe for travel. A few breaches in the roadbed caused by storm surge were quickly repaired according to Florida Department of Transportation officials.
Areas in the Florida Keys between Key Largo and the east of the Seven Mile Bridge (Marathon), as well as the City of Key West are currently under a midnight-to-6 a.m. curfew. Remaining areas southwest of the Seven Mile Bridge to the city limits of Key West observe a 10 p.m. to 6 a.m. curfew.
Florida Keys Electric Cooperative officials have reported that 100 percent of their customers who can receive power from Key Largo through Marathon have been restored. Keys Energy officials report about 87 percent of its customers' power has been restored.
Commercial service to Key West International Airport was restored Wednesday on a limited basis, intended to accommodate returning residents and those assisting with the hurricane Irma recovery effort. The Key West International Airport and Florida Keys Marathon International Airport are both currently being used as incoming staging areas for relief supplies and personnel.
A dedicated informational website has been established at KeysRecovery.org
Delta flight passengers at Key West International Airport Wednesday, Sept. 20, on the first commercial airline arrival since flights were suspended prior to Hurricane Irma. Image: Rob O'Neal