- Associated Press - Wednesday, October 4, 2017

KEY WEST, Fla. (AP) - Gov. Rick Scott is encouraging visitors to return to the Florida Keys after Hurricane Irma slammed the island chain Sept. 10.

The Republican governor staged a news conference Wednesday, where he was welcomed by a delegation of Keys residents who sounded a salute on conch shells. The conch is a longtime symbol of the Florida Keys and their citizens’ resilient spirit.

The Keys officially reopened to visitors Sunday, although Keys leaders continue asking tourists to be sensitive to recovery efforts in the Lower Keys, an area north of Key West to the Seven Mile Bridge that was hit hard by the storm.

Key Largo and Key West were least impacted by Irma and have more lodging and attractions open than other parts of the Keys.

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