Key West to remain closed to residents

Key West’s famous buoy for the most part weathered the storm.
Key West’s famous buoy for the most part weathered the storm. Keynoter

While the city of Marathon is considering letting residents return this weekend, Key West will remain closed to locals.

“There isn’t enough fuel, food and water flowing in to take care of everybody,” said Key West City Manager Jim Scholl.

Asked if it could be another week before Key West is opened to residents, Scholl said it is possible.

Key West on Friday appeared to have suffered largely tree damage but like the rest of the Lower Keys, it had no potable water available or a fully functioning hospital and many supplies needed to repair a home weren’t available.

“This is not a good situation,” Scholl said.

Progress was being made as power was restored Thursday to some New Town neighborhoods and parts of Bahama Village in Old Town.

And water was running Friday 24 hours a day on Stock Island and Key Haven, but it remains undrinkable.

Many residents said that while they are ready to return, they understand and support officials’ decision to keep Key West closed to them.

“Conditions are awful,” said Kevin Dunleavy. “We don’t regret leaving and won’t complain or attempt to return until we’re told it’s safe to do so. And we can flush.”

Kevin Paul Taylor said, “We are helping by staying out of the way of relief and recovery efforts.”

“Frustrated, yes,” said Karen Ludwig-O’Leary. “Regretting the decision to leave — not for a moment.”

Others didn’t like the idea that the city was keeping them from their homes, despite the lack of services.

“Zero regrets leaving,” said Evan Haskell. “I don’t understand why it’s being handled as a military quarantine zone.”

Gwen Filosa: @KeyWestGwen