15 January 2021
KEY WEST, Florida Keys — A contest to “name” the coronavirus-fighting robot that patrols interior spaces at Key West International Airport ended Thursday evening, just hours after it began, when the 1,000-entry limit was reached.  
The online contest is to award the winner a Key West vacation. It began at 1:45 p.m. ET Thursday and ended about six hours later after the entry field was filled.
Twelve finalists are to be randomly selected, with the ultimate winner to be chosen by a committee composed of Florida Keys and airport officials.
The contest prize includes two airline certificates on JetBlue and accommodations at The Gates Hotel Key West for three nights, as well as attraction passes from the Key West Butterfly & Nature Conservatory, Historic Tours of America and Sebago Watersports.
When activated, the robot emits high-intensity ultraviolet UV-C wavelength light designed to remove 99.9% of harmful airborne and surface pathogens including the novel coronavirus. Key West International is among the United States’ first airports to implement the unit, which stands nearly 6 feet tall and augments the airport’s other cleanliness and passenger protection practices.
Despite its lighthearted appeal, the contest had a serious purpose. It’s an element of the Florida Keys tourism council’s initiative to raise awareness about Keys directives and safety protocols to combat COVID-19, including mandatory masking requirements.
“This (the contest) gives us another opportunity to let our visitors know how serious that we are about protecting them and our residents from getting COVID,” said Keys Mayor Michelle Coldiron, who is also a Florida Keys tourism council board member. “We want to remind everyone to mask up and be safe and healthy when they come to visit us.”
The tourism council conceived the contest in cooperation with the airport.
The winning robot name is to be released by early February.
Key West visitor information: fla-keys.com/keywest or 1-800-LAST-KEY
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