The Sarasota Journal

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Vacation rentals may open soon in Sarasota

shell on white sand

SARASOTA –– A plan to re-open short-term or vacation rentals in Sarasota County is now under review by the state county commissioners learned Wednesday.

And hopefully, quick approval will come just in time for the Memorial Day weekend.

County Administrator Jonathan Lewis told commissioners the plan was delivered to the Florida Department of Business and Professional Regulation on Monday, and he received acknowledgement of its receipt within hours.

Lewis said he hoped that quick, initial response was indicative of a rapid approval, possibly as early as Friday, May 22.

The plan, Lewis said, was developed with assistance from Visit Sarasota County and shared with county officials from Charlotte to Pasco counties.

“Our plans were all very similar,” Lewis said.

Under Sarasota’s plan, rentals to international visitors are prohibited as well as people coming from states with more than 700 cases per 100,000 people as of May 18.

Additionally, reservations cannot be accepted from areas in the state identified as COVID-19 hot spots, check in/check out and payment must be handled electronically, and allow adequate time between rentals for cleaning and sanitation among other requirements.

Those requirements include restrictions on speaking to guests, notification of CDC and local COVID-19 guidelines and CDC resources about the virus.

“This is only for legal vacation rentals, not illegal ones,” Commissioner Alan Maio stressed.

Expressing her frustration regarding emails or comments she’d received, Commissioner Nancy Detert said, “We’re not the ones who closed them so I’m kinda surprised that we’re now the ones who have to figure out how they can reopen.

As of Wednesday morning, the state had approved plans submitted by eight other counties.

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Warren Richardson
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