Both City of Key West and Monroe County officials enacted heightened protective measures for open businesses this week in an effort to limit the spread of the novel coronavirus, COVID-19.

Anyone going out to pick-up essential items must now wear a nose and mouth covering before being allowed to enter any business. Staff working at those businesses must also wear nose and mouth coverings and businesses have been ordered to limit the number of customers allowed in at the same time.

Businesses in the City of Key West and unincorporated Monroe County must now limit the number of customers shopping at one time to 50% of the building’s capacity. Stores must also make sure customers and employees stay six feet apart at all times, and that all businesses with more than 10 people inside make sure everyone is wearing a mask.

Stores are also being ordered to make hand sanitizer and disinfectant wipes available to customers. The order does say “subject to availability” in recognition of how limited supplies are these days.

“We want you to cover your nose and mouth when you’re out in public,” said Mayor Teri Johnston, in a video speech posted Monday on Facebook, taking it a step further than the written order. “We’re getting ready to head into two or three of the most difficult weeks that we will ever face as a community,”  Johnston said.

Both local governments have also ordered anyone who has been diagnosed with COVID-19 to “separate themselves” from all people who are not infected.

Shoppers and employees are asked to avoid using medical and surgical face masks, such as “N95” masks, which are in short supply and should be reserved for health care personnel and other first responders with the greatest need for such personal protective equipment. Home made cloth masks, scarves, and bandanas and handkerchiefs all can be used to fit the requirement.

Both directives took effect at midnight on April 7th: The City’s directive is explained in this press release. Monroe County’s emergency directive can be viewed here.

The CDC suggests cloth face coverings should:

• Fit snugly but comfortably against the side of the face
• Be secured with ties or ear loops
• Include multiple layers of fabric
• Allow for breathing without restriction
• Be able to be laundered and machine dried without damage or change to shape

For more information from the CDC about cloth face coverings, sewn / non-sewn instructions, and shareable PDF versions, please visit…/prevent…/diy-cloth-face-coverings.html

The CDC provided some tips on some DIY no-sewing-required face coverings:  See the CDC webpage about face coverings by CLICKING HERE.

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