Key West Begins Irma Cleanup Efforts

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U.S. Navy surveying the aftermath of Hurricane Irma in the Key West. Photo courtesy of the U.S. Navy.

Life in Key West is slowly returning to normal – as normal as life in Key West can be.

“We suffered a major blow but we’re coming back,” said Steve Smith, a resident of the Conch Republic and former executive director of the Key West Business Guild. “The island is not as lush as it used to be but we did not lose everything like some of the islands to the north.”

Smith said Publix and Winn Dixie are making food deliveries, electricity is restored to most homes and businesses and commercial airlines begin arriving on Wednesday.

Over at the Island House, cleaning efforts are underway to bring the gay men’s guesthouse back to standards.

“The Island House is OK,” Jeffrey Smead said in a telephone call to SFGN Monday evening. “We need a really good bath but thank God there is no major damage to report.”

Smead, marketing director for the Island House, said staff began returning Monday evening. The café and bar will open first, Smead said. Monroe County officials have set a target date of Oct. 20 to allow tourists to visit, but the Island House is aiming to be fully functional well before then, Smead said.

“What we need now is reservations,” Smead said. “The support from our guests has been amazing and we need that patronage to get through this challenging time.”

Other LGBT businesses have also resumed operations. Aqua Nightclub has re-opened, Smead said, while Bourbon Street Pub and Club 801,on Duval Street served as a command center for police during the hurricane.

 


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