Palm Beach holds off on reopening vacation rentals

US: Though vacation rentals were set to reopen on the 15th of June, Florida’s Palm Beach County has paused measures due to rising Covid-19 moments.

The state of Florida has seen a significant rise of coronavirus infections, recording 5,511 new cases this week, breaking previous records.

The county had announced an end to the rental shutdown earlier this month, following in the footsteps of Miami-Dade and Broward counties. Approval was given for its short-term rental reopening plan from the Florida Department of Business Regulation which included a wide variety of safety precautions.

However, as Palm Beach County surpassed 10 per cent positive testing rate this past week, officials have been investigating their prior emergency order. County officials decided last Friday to announce a delay to potential plans.

On their official website, Palm County said: “We have had some conversations with the state, including the Florida surgeon general, about this data and we think it would be prudent to move a little more cautiously on the opening of vacation rentals, delaying the issuance of the emergency order that would allow for the reopening of these types of rentals.”

Leadership plans to examine health data over the coming days to determine an optimal time to reopen vacation rentals. According to numbers supplied to the county, only 15 per cent of intensive care beds are available.

This past week, Florida was among 15 US states and territories seeing the highest rates of infection since the pandemic’s first outbreak. While the total US number of cases is down, primarily due to improvement in the New York area’s cases, many states with loosened social distancing rules are seeing renewed spikes.

This comes as the UK announced sweeping changes to lockdown rules this week, cutting social distancing to one metre, and allowing pubs, hotels and rentals to reopen. Markets like New Zealand and Australia, with decisive action and low infection rates, have seen a slow return to business in their short-term rentals as well.