A plan submitted to the state Monday was approved.
Sarasota County can now begin offering short-term vacation rentals, with stipulations, after receiving approval from the state.
The county, along with Visit Sarasota, submitted a plan to the state Monday after Gov. Ron DeSantis lifted short-term rental restrictions, provided counties submit a plan to the state outlining how the rentals will be managed to mitigate the spread of COVID-19.
In a letter to the state, County Administrator Jonathan Lewis wrote that the county's economy has "suffered greatly," with one of the main areas of impact being short-term rentals. Vacation rentals represent just under 50% of the county’s bed tax revenue.
The state approved the county's plan Thursday afternoon, allowing it to join 24 other counties throughout the state, though it does come with some caveats.
Reservations will be allowed only from U.S. states with a COVID-19 case rate of less than 700 cases per 100,000 residents, as of May 18. According to a Centers for Disease Control and Prevention data map, this would mean that residents from Louisiana, Michigan, Illinois, Maryland, New Jersey, New York, Connecticut, Rhode Island and Massachusetts are not eligible for rental.
Additionally, reservations from international travelers will not be accepted.
The county's plan also includes stipulations for how the rentals should be run. All reservations, check in/check outs, communication with guests and the acceptance of payments must be done electronically to minimize direct contact with guests.
Property owners and managers must provide CDC resources and Sarasota County COVID-19 information to any guest while staying on the property.
Adequate time between guest check ins and check outs must be given to leave time for appropriate cleaning and sanitation. To inform guests of the sanitation process, signs will be placed at each property highlighting the protocols between stays.
Finally, property owners and managers must provide employees or contractors with CDC safety guidelines to alleviate transmission of the virus. All Department of Business and Professional Regulation sanitation guidelines must be followed.
This means that hand-washing or hand sanitizer protocols and proper Personal Protective Equipment should be offered. Additionally, rentals should leave six feet between chairs or tables at pools or beaches.