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State approves county's plan for reopening vacation rentals

Posted On: May 22, 2020

Short-term vacation rentals in Volusia County got the green light early Friday evening to reopen after the state approved Volusia’s safety plan that the rental businesses must follow to ensure the welfare of their guests.

Vacation rentals across Florida have been shut down since the end of March as one of many emergency measures taken by Governor Ron DeSantis to help slow the spread of the coronavirus. With a phased reopening of the state now under way, the Governor last Friday authorized counties to seek permission to allow vacation rentals in their county to resume operations. To get state approval, counties are required to submit a plan outlining measures that vacation rentals will follow to ensure the safety of their guests. The Volusia County Council approved a safety plan on Tuesday and emailed it the same day to the Florida Department of Business & Professional Regulation (DBPR) for review. The county was notified a short while ago that the plan has been approved.

“Based on the Department’s review of the safety plan for vacation rental operations that accompanied your request, Volusia County has established the necessary plans for operation of vacation rentals at this time,” DBPR Secretary Halsey Beshears wrote in a letter to the county. “Accordingly, I approve the operation of vacation rentals in Volusia County pursuant to the plans as submitted.”

Volusia County joins 37 other counties in Florida that have received authorization from the state to allow vacation rental businesses in their counties to open back up. Volusia County’s safety plan for vacation rentals includes a series of mandatory cleanliness and sanitation guidelines, such as requirements to:

  • Clean and disinfect all frequently-touched surfaces in the property between each guest stay.
  • Wash all linens, dishware and other service items available for use by guests between each guest rental.
  • Maintain adequate time between the conclusion of a guest stay and the check-in of the next guest to allow for appropriate cleaning and sanitation.
  • Minimize direct guest contact with property owners or managers through remote check-in and check-out procedures.

Under the plan, which takes effect immediately, vacation rental reservations from areas identified by executive order of the Governor which require isolation or quarantine must be for periods longer than the mandated quarantine period. Guests occupying those vacation rentals must adhere to the quarantine restrictions.

“The idea there is to prevent somebody from moving and traveling to a different location while they’re supposed to be isolated or quarantined,” Interim County Attorney Mike Dyer explained at Tuesday’s County Council meeting where the safety plan was adopted.

In addition, property owners or managers are required to provide a copy of the safety plan to occupants prior to their arrival. The county will report any complaints of a property owner, property manager or occupant failing to comply with any provision of the plan to DBPR – the agency responsible for enforcing the business regulations. Volusia County’s safety plan can be viewed by clicking on the link below:

https://www.volusia.org/core/fileparse.php/6092/urlt/DBPR-Request-and-approval-re-rentals-final.pdf

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