“We’re all denying.” Key West looks at COVID and sees the fantasy fest on the calendar.

Key West’s annual Fantasy Fest is a 10-day spectacle that takes a crowd of parades, parties and body-painted tourists to a small island.

The event begins on October 22nd and continues until Halloween.But can cities safely pull off the biggest? Attractions While COVID-19 cases are skyrocketing in Florida and Keys?

The Key West City Commission plans to meet on Wednesday, September 1, to listen to people’s opinions before making a decision.

“We all have to come up with ideas,” Mayor Teri Johnston said on Friday. “Don’t come here just to complain or request that you need to have something specific in a specific way. It comes with a solution.”

Participants will be attending the 2017 Fantasy Fest Parade down Duval Street in Key West on Saturday, October 28, 2017.

Participants will be attending the 2017 Fantasy Fest Parade down Duval Street in Key West on Saturday, October 28, 2017.

In towns where tourism pays for it, people are still cut off at the fantasy fests on the calendar.

Some fear that it will be canceled and lead to a loss of income. Others are afraid of the impact of tens of thousands of visitors during the surge in new COVID-19 cases.

According to Miami Herald / FLKeysNews.com, August is the worst pandemic month in Monroe County, with 1,751 new cases reported so far. Calculation Of data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

“It’s worse than ever, but as you walk down the street, you may see a few people in masks,” said Dr. Mark Whiteside, medical director at the Florida Department of Health in Monroe County. I did. “I think we are all denying.”

According to a calculation of state data from Miami Herald / FLKeysNews.com, Monroe reported 376 new resident cases in the week leading up to August 26. This was reduced from the 487 new resident cases reported last week.

“We’re in a place we’ve never been to,” Johnston said. “We have shut down a much better number than what we are seeing now. But we are vaccinated. There are other ways to protect our citizens.”

The organizers of the Fantasy Fest encourage you to come to Key West only if you are fully vaccinated and stay home if you have any symptoms. Attendees need to bring a mask and hand sanitizer, they said.

“Everyone who attends the festival must be fully vaccinated or have a negative COVID test within 72 hours of attending the festival,” said the event. Website Status.

The fantasy fest should take place as planned, said former mayor Mark Rossi, who owns a bar complex on Duval Street.

“You can’t escape the illness, you know,” Rossi said. “If you have not been vaccinated, please do not go.”

Lower Keys Fluffer & # x002019; 2016 Fantasy Fest float, & # x002018; Weekend at Bernie & # x002019; s, & # x002019; Won the Best in Creativity in the parade.

Lower Keys Fluffers’ 2016 Fantasy Fest Float “Weekend at Barneys” won the best incarnation in the parade.

There is no king or queen this year

Fantasy Fest, along with its name and logo, is legally part of the Tourist Development Association, a non-profit organization with its own board of directors. The TDA grants the company a contract to produce the event. Since 2017, the work has moved to We’ve Got the Keys. Event planning and marketing company Led by Nadene Grossman Orr.

Grossman O talked about the Fantasy Fest on Friday after some of this year’s celebrations were cancelled.

The annual “Fantasy Fest Royal Campaign” was canceled on Friday afternoon, hours before the kick-off event began at Sunset Pier. This is a non-profit AH Monroe fundraiser, formerly known as AIDS Help, which provides housing, medical referrals, and other services to people living with HIV.

Each year, locals compete to become King and Queen of Fantasy Fest by hosting a fundraising event. The person who collects the most money takes the crown.

But this year it can’t happen, AH Monroe’s board of directors decided on the grounds of a surge in COVID-19 cases in Key and “cannot perform masking or vaccination.”

“It is imperative to first protect the well-being of Keys’ neighbors, friends and supporters,” said Christopher Elwell, Chairman of the Board.

“Our king and queen candidates are, of course, disappointed, but we support our susceptibility to the recent surge in COVID infections in Monroe County,” said Scott, secretary general of a nonprofit organization. Priden says.

Dr. John Norris, a Key West doctor who has become the forefront of local health care, suffers from COVID-19 on Friday at high risk of serious illness and death.

“The best I can hope for is that everyone is vaccinated and we are ready. Regeneron To make sure our population doesn’t have to hit our hospitals, emergency rooms, or ICUs that God forbids, “Norris said.

The Lower Keys Medical Center, the only hospital in Key West, has 167 beds, including 10 in the ICU, on two campuses. According to Norris, on August 20, the hospital changed the surge condition from green to yellow for the first time in a pandemic. This means that more nurses and ventilators are needed.

A hospital spokesman said yellow also meant that there were still beds available to the patient.

“Resources are limited everywhere,” Norris said. “Places like Miami and Jacksonville can be overwhelmed, and if Miami is our backup, you need to worry.