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Property owners in Wakulla County permitted to resume short-term rentals

Posted at 5:30 PM, May 20, 2020
and last updated 2020-05-20 18:35:02-04

WAKULLA COUNTY, Fla. (WTXL) — Counties across Florida and the Big Bend area are opening vacation rentals with the governor's approval and certain COVID-19 specifications.

Bed and breakfast owners are eager to once again welcome visitors to Wakulla after having their reservations halted for weeks due to COVID-19.

"We were actually just getting really started and getting in the swing of things when we were shut down," said Melissa Hines, the owner of Sweet Magnolia Inn. "So hoping that, you know, it's a holiday weekend, people are excited."

Hines had only been operating since September when the pandemic set in and says the reopen is just in time. But before welcoming guests, sanitation protocols are paramount.

According to Wakulla County's public announcement:

All vacation rental units must ensure adequate safety protocols are in place and publicly displayed, in line with CDC guidance, regarding shared or multi-residence amenities such as pools, gyms, and other communal spaces.

Owners are required to minimize contact by using mobile payment for check-in and check-out as well as allowing ample time between guest stays.

"We have a dedicated housekeeper, so we are practicing our sanitation, getting our social distancing, separating our dining room tables," Hines said.

Hines says she's doing everything she can to ensure a safe and welcoming reopening this weekend.

The county is allowing reservations from all U.S. states with a COVID-19 case rate less than 500 cases per 100,000 people. The county also requires vacation rentals to keep records of their cleaning practices on public display.