On Friday, Governor Ron DeSantis announced that individual counties in the state can submit plans for relaunching short-term vacation rentals, which have been banned since March 27 to slow the spread of COVID-19. The decision is part of a wider effort to reopen the state’s economy, which depends heavily on tourists. According to local press, vacation property owners ran TV ads urging DeSantis to “end your unfair ban now.” (Hotels were allowed to operate under certain circumstances.)
That said, DeSantis’ order is not an immediate go-ahead to start renting out short-term properties. Counties will need to present a plan on who they will rent for and what they will do to ensure safety. DeSantis will then sign off, a process that some local experts say could take weeks. At a press conference in Jacksonville, DeSantis specified that the idea is to start local and rent out to people from nearby rather than those coming from virus hotspots like New York or Louisiana — although it is unclear how that would be enforced.
“If you tell me you’re going to rent them out to people from New York City, I’m probably not going to approve that, OK?” DeSantis said at a press conference. “If you’re saying that you’re going to rent it out to people in other parts of Florida or something that would be manageable, if there’s ways in there that clearly you have an eye to safety, then I’m fine.”