Florida Panhandle Officials Swiftly Answer Governors Call Submitting Plans for Reopening of Short-Term Vacation Rentals

May 18, 2020

In response to Friday’s announcement from Governor Ron DeSantis proclaiming short-term rentals can reopen if counties submit a plan for opening safely – Florida Panhandle Counties Escambia, Okaloosa, Bay, Santa Rosa, and Walton counties sprang to action creating short-term rental safe opening plans for state approval. The plans outline several guidelines for reservations, health and safety of guests, and cleanliness of the property.

May 16th Okaloosa County Commissioner Nathan Boyles published this update:

Apologies for the interruption of your weekend, but I did want to update the information that was sent in my email yesterday. Once the Governor’s Order was eventually posted publicly, we were able to confirm language in the order giving the county administrator authority to send a request to reopen short-term rentals accompanied with a safety plan. After coordinating individually with commissioners, county administrator John Hofstad made the decision to proceed with submitting a plan to the Governor for approval today.

The plan is largely consistent with similar plans created in Walton and Santa Rosa counties and meets the guidelines provided by DBPR late yesterday. The plan prohibits renting to visitors from several states (including Louisiana) unless the stay length exceeds the 14-day self-quarantine requirement currently in place by the Governor.

We now await approval of the plan from the state. The TDC will still convene on Monday to review the plan and can still suggest adjustments. The Commission will meet on Tuesday and presumably ratify the decision to submit the request and the plan and direct any adjustments to the plan if needed.

While some vacation rental managers in Florida are still questioning the fairness of the latest update from the state officials, everyone is now eagerly waiting to see if the state approvals will be expedited to allow for Memorial Day weekend openings or if the decisions of the state will come too little too late.


Okaloosa County Plan can be found here: Okaloosa County’s Vacation Rental Plan

Escambia County Plan can be found here: Escambia County Vacation Rental Plan

Bay County Plan can be found here: Bay County Opening Short-Term Rentals

Santa Rosa Plan can be found here: Santa Rosa County Plan to Reopen Short Term Rentals