The list of coronavirus special event victims keeps growing.
Key West has canceled all special events on public property through Dec. 31 to help slow the soaring number of COVID-19 cases in both the city and Monroe County. In addition to the previously announced cancellation of the holiday parade and the in-person public Christmas tree and menorah lightings — both of which will be shown virtually — all concerts at the Coffee Butler Amphitheater going forward through the end of December are canceled, including a Dec. 11 concert by the band 38 Special.
The Dec. 2 Wesley House Lighted Bike Ride fundraiser has also been cancelled. And the Key West Artisan Market, which was scheduled to start its winter season on Sunday, Nov. 22, in its new location in the parking lot of the Wildlife Bird Sanctuary, has been canceled until further notice.
“We are devastated for our artists, vendors and mom-and-pop businesses who have worked hard to beef up inventory to meet the demands of this popular market,” said market organizer Sean Krikorian. “Many of them have had very limited opportunity to make any income during the seven months of being shut down. But at the same time, we stand behind the city’s decision to keep our community safe and appreciate all they are doing to move Key West in a better direction.”
Unclear, however, is what may happen on New Year’s Eve. Several local bars hold midnight “drops” of large conch shells, a giant champaign bottle, a pirate wench, margarita limes into a massive cocktail glass and, the most famous, Sushi the drag queen in a stiletto shoe. Some of the drops are on private property; however, the crowds fill public sidewalks and streets. City commissioners said they wanted to reach out to bar owners asking the drops be canceled this year but nothing has been announced yet.
The Key West Truman Waterfront Farmers Market will be allowed to continue operating because it is considered an essential service by the state of Florida. With Thanksgiving on Thursday, Nov. 26, the farmers market will move to Friday and operate from 10 am to 6 p.m. Market organizers hope to move to Wednesday the week of Christmas and New Year to avoid conflicting with Christmas and New Year’s eves.
“Safety for our guests and participants at all the Markets is our highest priority,” Krikorian said. “We will continue to work with the City to develop protocols that hopefully will allow us to continue operating the Farmers Market and open the Artisan Market soon.”