The Bay County Plan for Opening Short-Term Rentals was developed using guidance from the Florida Department of Business and Professional Regulation, the Vacation Rental Management Association, and the Vacation Rental Hospitality Professionals, with input from Vacation Rental Management companies operating in Bay County. These guidelines, reviewed and updated on a bi-weekly basis, seek to establish an industry-wide best practice to ensure guest safety. The County recognizes the importance of keeping residents and visitors safe, and as such we would expect the following conditions to be required to reopen short term rentals.
Vacation Rental Reservations
Our plan establishes a guideline that incorporates a standard for TOTAL cases or ACTIVE cases within a state to determine whether vacation rentals will be allowed.
Property owners/managers may use the following links to determine if a rental inquiry from a particular state meets the threshold:
Vacation rentals reservations and stays will be allowed from all U.S. states with a COVID-19 Case Rate less than:
750 Total cases/100,000 residents, (Source: https://www.cdc.gov/covid-data-tracker/), or
500 Active cases/100,000 residents, (Source: https://nssac.bii.virginia.edu/covid-19/dashboard/)
Use mobile platforms for customer service and communication with guests, including the acceptance of payments by mobile or electronic methods.
Minimize direct guest contact with property owners or managers through remote check-in and check-out procedures.
Post signage or other notices regarding the cleaning practices that are completed prior to each guest’s stay.
Display signage or notices to guests in the rental property to frequently remind guests to take steps to prevent the spread of COVID-19, including the wiping and sanitation of touched surfaces.
Products, Cleaning Agents, and Equipment
Cleaning personnel and vacation rental staff should use cleaning products in line with the EPA’s list of products with “Emerging Viral Pathogens AND Human Coronavirus claims for use against SARS-CoV-2.”
Disinfecting procedures should allow for required dwell time to kill the viruses and microbes.
Disinfectant products should be used on all major surfaces.
Cleaning and Inspections
Maintain adequate time between the conclusion of a guest stay and the check-in of the next guest stay for appropriate cleaning and sanitation.
Clean and disinfect all frequently-touched surfaces in the property between each guest’s stay.
Wash all linens, dishware, and other service items available for use by guests between each guest rental.
Provide sufficient soap and surface sanitation supplies for guests to utilize in the vacation rental property during the guest’s rental period.
Soft Surfaces and Upholstery
A pressurized pump sprayer should be used to distribute a sanitizing product across all soft surfaces.
Dirty linens and bedding should be handled and sanitized in such a way as to safeguard cleaning staff and prevent the spread of viruses and germs.
Linens and bedding should be professionally laundered for proper cleaning.
Cleaning personnel and vacation rental staff should remove gloves, use hand sanitizer, and put on fresh gloves after handling dirty linens.
Blankets/comforters should be removed for laundering and replaced with a freshly washed item, or covered with a freshly washed duvet cover as an alternative.
For both inside and outside trash gathering, gloves and masks should be worn at all times.
A disinfectant should be used on the trash barrel, and a fresh liner or bag should be used inside the barrel or bin.