Irma recovery: Florida Keys will open to visitors Oct. 1

A couple rides past the entrance to the Ernest Hemingway Home & Museum, Thursday, Sept. 21, 2017, in Key West, Fla. Businesses and residents in the Keys are removing debris and fixing damage caused by Hurricane Irma in anticipation for the return of tourists in the area. (AP Photo/Wilfredo Lee)

KEY WEST, Fla. (AP) — Florida Keys officials say the island chain hit hard by Hurricane Irma will reopen to tourists Oct. 1.

Officials made their announcement Monday, more than two weeks after the Category 4 storm made landfall in the Florida Keys. The storm destroyed an estimated 25 percent of homes on the islands.

Florida Keys officials asked visitors to postpone their trips after the storm damaged power and water supplies. Florida Keys spokesman Andy Newman said power and water service is now restored to customers that can receive them and a boil water notice has been lifted.

The Key West and Marathon airports have reopened, but debris removal continues and some hotels and tourist facilities are still recovering.

Key West did have its first cruise ship return to the island on Sunday.

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