The Florida Keys are closed indefinitely to tourists as the island chain cleans up from Hurricane Irma.
Residents of Key Largo, Tavernier or Islamorada in the Upper
Keys will be allowed to return beginning Tuesday at 7 a.m.
In a press release Monday evening, county officials didn't
say when tourists as well as Middle and Lower Keys residents, including those
who live in Key West or Marathon, would be allowed back.
"The roads remain unsafe for travel due to debris,
which includes boats, downed trees, downed power lines, sand and washed out
roadway," the county said. "Hurricanes always provide interesting
road blocks, including a black limousine that was left across U.S. 1 in Grassy
Key. It has been towed off the roadway."
Irma made its first U.S. landfall Sunday morning on Cudjoe
Key, about 20 miles east of Key West as a Category 4 hurricane.
Bridges in the 110 miles between the mainland and mile
marker 16 of the Overseas Highway are safe for travel. Inspections continue on
the bridges between mile marker 16 and the end of the road in Key West.
Tourism is the dominant industry in the Florida Keys,
contributing $2.7 billion and 54% of the jobs to the local economy, according
to the local tourism development council.
Visitors were evacuated from the Keys last Wednesday morning
ahead of Irma's approach.
This report was updated Monday evening with news that Upper Keys residents will be allowed to return to their homes.