Vacation rentals can reopen in Osceola County after coronavirus closure

State approves county’s plan for reopening

Photo by Engin Akyurt/Pexels

OSCEOLA COUNTY, Fla. – Vacation rentals can now reopen in Osceola County after being shuttered for months due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, according to county officials.

Osceola leaders said the plan to reopen vacation rentals in the county was sent to Gov. Ron DeSantis’ office on Friday and on Wednesday, it was approved.

“We appreciate the quick review of our plan and the State’s realization that the vacation rental home sector is a massive part of our economy,” Osceola County Chairwoman Viviana Janer said. “We know that this action will have a ripple effect in our community as there are so many small businesses that support the vacation rental market – from housekeepers to lawn and pool maintenance workers, to security staff and caterers, to property managers and companies that handle the numerous details that surround a successful vacation.”

In phase one of Florida’s reopening, counties can send in plans to reopen vacation rentals to the State Department of Business and Professional Regulation for approval.

Osceola County jumped at this chance with more than 30,000 licensed vacation home rentals in the county, which account for half of the county’s $60 million tourism development tax dollars.

Osceola County listed some main points of the plan sent to the state:

  • Property owners and managers have to adopt guidelines that are in place for businesses
  • They must follow reopen guidelines for cleaning and disinfecting for all lodging
  • Property owners will be asked to provide coronavirus guidance on local restrictions put in place during a guest stay
  • Any guest coming from a highly-infected area must reserve a minimum stay of 14 nights and follow CDC’s self-quarantine guidelines
  • Vacation rentals are not allowed to be used for gatherings that exceed the maximum occupancy

The Osceola Back 2 Work Taskforce has posted a list of guidelines for property owners to follow at this link.

With the announcement, Osceola County became the first in Central Florida to have its vacation rental plan approved by the governor. Leaders in Brevard and Volusia counties are also hoping to get Airbnbs and the like back up and operating soon.