Key West, one of Florida’s most popular destinations, is considering a major change to its tourism industry in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic.
The city, the southernmost point in the United States and the final island in the 125-mile long chain of keys that begins just south of Miami and stretches over 42 bridges, has put a referendum on its November ballot that would limit the size of ships calling on the Key West port.
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Three proposed amendments on the ballot would restrict the size of ships that can dock on the island to no more than 1,300 passengers, with no more than 1,500 guests per day being able to disembark into the city and its famed Duval St.
The ballot proposals would also prioritize ships with “better” environmental and public health records, according to Cruise Industry News, as the city looks to cut down to help limit the spread of the virus.
Whether that would cripple the tourism industry remains to be seen; Key West is already suffering greatly from a significantly decreased amount of travelers. In fact, its famous annual Fantasy Fest, scheduled every October, was canceled for this year.
Fantasy Fest draws 60,000 tourists for that weekend alone and helps generate $30 million for the island. This year would have been the 42nd annual festival, a wildly fun and colorful event and parade celebrating LGBTQ culture in an adults-only atmosphere.
The Florida Keys and Key West reopened on June 1, with a county ordinance requiring visitors and residents to wear facial coverings within business establishments and all public settings that have a roof overhead. People are permitted to remove their masks while seated at restaurants and bars for drinking and dining.
That edict has since been extended through June of 2021.
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