USA Today reports:
Two weeks after Hurricane Irma devastated the Florida Keys, the first cruise ship docked Sunday in this southernmost city, providing the first boost of tourist dollars to the storm-ravaged area. Key West Mayor Craig Cates said he agonized over the appropriate time to welcome tourists against to his city, which was spared from the worst of Irma’s wrath. But he said the entire region will benefit by tourists coming back.
“We understand and we are compassionate about their situation,” Cates said about the islands farther north that are worse off. “But a lot of them work here. We’re in this together.” That sentiment was echoed in the heart of Key West, as several tourist hot spots reopened for the first time Sunday to welcome the cruise passengers.
Rich Fox, operations manager for Old Town Trolley Tours, said his employees up and down the Keys have been clamoring to get back to work. All their trolleys survived the storm, and they restarted 15 of them that were immediately filled with cruise passengers. “This is absolutely massive for us,” Fox said. “It lets the rest of the world know Key West is up and running.”
Also yesterday the Island House reopened for its traditional Sunday pool party. The hotel portion reopens today.