BREAKING NEWS: KEY WEST OFFICIALS TODAY SPEAK NEW YEAR’S RESTRICTIONS
What should the city do to limit the spread of COVID-19 on New Years Eve, when a crowd gathers shoulder to shoulder in downtown Key West?
Do nothing and let personal responsibility determine behavior? Cancel all outdoor events? Introduce curfew at 10 p.m.? Position security monitors in each block to enforce the mask mandate?
No decisions have been made, but all of the above were recently mentioned in an online poll for public input on possible safeguards to keep Key West “open and safe” on New Years Eve.
Officials will discuss their options when they meet at 5 p.m. tonight. A full agenda can be found at cityofkeywest-fl.gov. The topic of New Year’s Eve is listed as a discussion point, so an official decision may not be made until a later meeting.
Approximately 1,300 people responded to the survey within three days. The mixed results reflect the division in the city, and often pit business owners and working residents against retirees, second home owners and government employees whose incomes have been less impacted by the pandemic and business related to closures.
“We had a very good balance between the bar / restaurant and members of the general community [who responded to the survey]. In that sense, the survey represents the entire community very well, ”said Elisa Levy, the city’s strategic planning advisor, reporting the survey results.
“There was an almost even pause between the two extremes: ‘Do nothing’ was 19.88%; while a 10 p.m. curfew received 21.89%. This is an indication of the current community as a whole. We’re split – evenly split between shutting down the event and keeping the event open with no rules. Most people fell somewhere in between, ”Levy reported.
“The four options that received the most support were: raise monitors and security to enforce mask rules for people walking (42.47%); cancel all external events (42.19%); Closing Duval to Take People Outside (38.43%); Encourage eating outdoors (32.25%).
Outdoor events include sushi and the pirate woman in the Bourbon Street Pub and Schooner Wharf Bar, respectively. Sloppy Joe has already canceled his conch shell drop, Levy reported.
Today’s meeting also includes a coronavirus update from the health department at the start of the meeting, and a COVID update from the mayor is the final item on the agenda for today’s meeting.
The commission will also consider a request from Key West businessman Blake Feldman to have up to 21 “bar bikes” on the city’s streets. The solar-powered and human-powered bikes have seven or 14 seats, with users pedaling on each side, and a mobile “bar” in the middle. Feldman has requested the necessary vehicle licenses for the company.
A Key West businessman applies for city approval to operate up to 21 solar-powered and human-powered barbikes on the streets of Key West. CONTRIBUTION