Re-Opening the Keys: Monroe County Announces Task Force Members After First Meeting This Afternoon

Monroe County Sheriff’s Office Col. Lou Caputo directs a driver wanting to continue down the Florida Keys Overseas Highway near Key Largo, Fla. Friday, March 27, 2020. The Keys have been temporarily closed to visitors since March 22, because of the coronavirus crisis. (Andy Newman/Florida Keys News Bureau/HO)

Monroe County Mayor Heather Carruthers asked county and municipal leaders to recommend community members to volunteer for task forces to provide preliminary input on the phases in relaxing COVID-19 protective measures. Task forces include outdoor recreation, non-essential businesses, restaurants, bars, entertainment, and lodging and vacation rentals.  The task force on outdoor recreation had its first organizational meeting this afternoon.

Outdoor Recreation

The timeline for outdoor recreation is compressed to coordinate with the City of Key West, and Miami-Dade, Broward, and Palm Beach counties. [The City of Key West opened its beaches and parks today, Monday April 27th. Miami-Dade is expecting to open golf courses, marinas, parks, and boat ramps this week.] This group consists of Dan Renyen of WeBeFit, Rich Welter of Sunset Watersports, Kim and Bob Roney of Capt. Hook’s, Sara Stanczyk of Bud N Mary’s Marina, Paul Menta of Key West First Legal Rum/Kiteboarding, Jim Boilini of Jacob’s Aquatic Center, commercial diver Rachel Bowman, Bart Smith of A&B Marina, Greg Mercurio of Yankee Capts, Jack Carlson of Two Conchs Fishing Charters, Chris Gratton with Keys Contracting Services, Maria Bagiotti, and Ted Fischer.

Non-Essential Businesses

The non-essential businesses task force includes Tony Falcone of Fast Buck Freddy’s, Will Langley of Berkshire Hathaway, Ginger Viele of Ginger Snips Hair Salon, Heather Rouse of Sea Level Spa, Scott Bodziak of Bass Pro, Jessica Haim of Truval Village Market Place, Gardo Gomez of the Sandal Factory, Scott Sanders of Fury, Bill Hunter of Key-Tel Comm, Patrick Stevens of Wolfe & Stevens Attorneys, architect Catherine Felton, Chris Moonis, and Cale Smith.

Restaurants and Bars

The task force to address restaurant and bar restrictions has been divided into two separate groups based on whether their revenue is derived mostly from food or alcohol.

The restaurant task force includes Mark Bailey of Goldman’s Deli, Kent Tomita of Chico’s Cantina, Lanny Gardner of Boondocks, Elise Mucha of Brutus Seafood, Michael Ledwith of Michael’s Restaurant, Scott Bodziak of Islamorada Fish Company, Bill Lay of La Trattoria, Gina Boilini of Doc’s Diner, Danny Hughes of Two Friends Restaurant, Jordan Ivey of Stock Island Marina, Matt Anthony of Sparky’s Landing, Justin Nels of Isla Bella Resort, Skip Haring, and April Tracy.

The restaurant/bars task force will consist of Jenn Stefanacci of 22 & Co., Bobby Mongelli of Hogfish Bar & Grill, Lynn Bell of the Square Grouper, Randy Kroeck of Burdines Marina, Bar and Grill, Michael Thaler of Two Martinis, Craig McBay of Florida Keys Brewing Company, Becky Lawrence of Sloppy Joes, Peter Althuis of Snappers, Mark Rossi of Durty Harry’s, Joe and Meri-Lynn Britz of Coconut’s, Dallas Cook of Overseas Liquor Pub and Grill, Sheldon Suga of Hawk’s Cay, and Skip Haring.


The entertainment task force is comprised of Kelly Norman of Ramshead, Bette Zirklebach of the Turtle Hospital, John Bartus of Radio Active Productions, Beverly Osborne of Theater of the Sea, Rosi Ware of West Martello/Garden Club, Scott Baste of PADDLE! Florida Keys, Art Cooper of Dolphins Plus, George Fernandez of Key West Butterfly, Mike Schultz of Kiki’s, Matt Sexton of Keys Cable Park, Rita Irwin of Dolphin Research Center, Jim Gilleran of 801 Bourbon, and Carla Turner at Tropic Cinema.

Transient Rentals

The transient rental facilities task force includes Diane Schmidt of Margaritaville Resort, Troy Talpas of the Perry Hotel, Robert Spottswood of Spottswood Companies, Brian Schmitt of Coldwell Banker, John El-Koury of Coastal Vacation Rentals, Eddie Sipple of Postcard Inn, Wendy Zintsmaster of Truman & Company, Jodi Weinhofer of The Florida Keys and Key West Lodging Association, Jamie Esterline of Bayside Inn, Michael Knowles of Doubletree, Harry Appel of Deer Run B&B, Yunior Rodriguez of Hawks Cay, James Bernardin of Pines and Palms, Kimmeron Lisle, and Mimi Young.

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