Some Florida Keys reopen to tourism after Irma

In this aerial photo provided by the Florida Keys News Bureau, a small boat approaches the Whale Harbor Bridge Sunday, Oct. 1, 2017, in Islamorada, Fla. Keys officials gave the green light for visitors to return to the island chain after Hurricane Irma passed through on Sept. 10. While Key Largo and Key West were least impacted, other areas of the Keys are still recovering. (Andy Newman/Florida Keys News Bureau via AP)

KEY WEST, Fla. (AP) – The Florida Keys have reopened to visitors three weeks after Hurricane Irma’s assault on the island chain.

Local officials designated Sunday for the official return of tourists based on rapid utility restoration and the need to resume the Keys’ tourism-based economy.

Tourism-related jobs account for about 50 percent of the workforce.

Key Largo and Key West were least affected by Irma’s Sept. 10 landfall and have more lodging and attractions open than other parts of the Keys.

The hardest hit area is the Lower Keys, from northeast of Key West to the Seven Mile Bridge. Airline and cruise ship arrivals have resumed into Key West.

Traffic is flowing on the Florida Keys Overseas Highway.

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