US: As the state of Florida is hit by a second peak of the coronavirus, the closure of all short-term rentals in Miami Beach has got underway.
The city put out an emergency order at 12:01am on Thursday, cancelling existing reservations and mandating properties stop accepting new guests.
The policy is in keeping with the rest of Miami-Dade County, which has been re-issuing restrictions as a result of Florida’s Covid-19 spike. Restaurants, gyms, fitness centres, as well as short-term rentals, have all had restrictions placed on them.
County law has imposed a minimum stay of one month at any short-term rental, placed occupancy caps on properties, and limited the number of people for overnight stays in one bedroom. The restrictions from the county are less strict than the current closing order in Miami Beach.
The state of Florida initially banned short-term rentals, leading to outrage from industry professionals who claimed it was unfair to keep rentals shut while hotels were allowed to remain open. The backlash caused governor Ron DeSantis to change his initial policy on rentals, allowing them to operate during the first phase of the state’s reopening.
Total new case numbers have now reached 290,000, with 4,400 new deaths recorded. Miami mayor Francis Suarez has criticised some operators for holding “underground parties” at short-term rentals, which may have played a part in the recent spike.
Suarez said in an interview with Fox News: “We shut down about ten businesses over the weekend. We have been trying to dramatically enforce or increase our enforcement to make sure that things don’t get worse in the city, which is being seen in Dade County, and is obviously seeing record number of cases over the last few days.”
Airbnb criticised the move from the county and municipalities, claiming the new rules are too restrictive. Spokesman Ben Breit for the company said the company had not heard any communication from the county about potential restrictions.
He told 7 News Miami: “We’d love to be able to have a conversation, and we’d love for our own hosts to be able to have a seat at the table as well.”