ISLAMORADA (CBSMiami/FKNB) – One of the Florida Keys most iconic hotels has re-opened more than six months after being heavily damaged by Hurricane Irma.READ MORE: COVID In Florida: 2,805 New Cases, 97 Additional Deaths Reported Tuesday
The Cheeca Lodge and Spa reopened to visitors on Friday. The resort in Islamorada had not hosted a vacationer since the Keys began a visitor evacuation several days before Irma passed through the island chain on September 10th.
Although the core of the Category 4 storm made landfall on Cudjoe Key, some 60 miles to the west of the resort, storm surge devastated the resort’s lobby and landscaping and destroyed a 525-foot-long oceanside dock. Many of the 27-acre hotel’s 214 guestrooms suffered water intrusion.READ MORE: UF Will No Longer Require Masks On Campus
During the resort’s closure, no pre-storm employees were laid off during the closure and the staff assisted outside contractors with the property’s recovery.
With Cheeca’s reopening, 80 percent of the Florida Keys’ lodging properties will be hosting visitors, according to Keys tourism officials. In Key West, more than 92 percent of accommodations are open.
Almost all Keys attractions and restaurants have returned to operation.MORE NEWS: Gov. Ron DeSantis Signs Executive Order Pardoning All COVID-Related Charges & Arrests
The Florida Keys News Bureau contributed to this report.