Short-term rentals lifted in Gulf and Franklin Counties

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GULF COUNTY AND FRANKLIN COUNTY, Fla. (WJHG/WECP) - With short term rentals open once again, business is quickly coming back to the Forgotten Coast.

Some rental companies are already booked for Memorial Day Weekend. (WJHG/WECP)

"It's been crazy! Yeah, I don't know that any of us that have slept a whole lot in the past 24 hours," said Silvia Williams, the owner of Serenity Beach Rentals.

Williams says already, her 10 properties are booked for the weekend.

"This weekend will help us kind of have a good understanding of how things will work and get kind of used to the new normal here," said Williams.

Over in Franklin County, Owner of Resort Vacation Properties, Dana Ingalls, feels the same urgency.

"It's been a record-breaking day, yesterday and this morning," said Ingalls.

Now there are deeper cleaning requirements.

"We're gonna be spending more time in properties with disinfectants, cleaning, all fresh linen, we've triple-sheeted all of our beds," said Ingalls.

In Gulf County, Tourist Development Council officials tell us services are available to limit travelers' exposure to possible coronavirus contamination.

"We have a service that a concierge program, will actually go to the store and buy your groceries and stock your home before you arrive," said Kelli Godwin, the TDC executive director.

Both Franklin and Gulf County visitors are asked to follow the CDC's guidelines when they're out and about because short-term rental businesses aren't the only ones seeing visitors in town.

"Franklin County is a tourism economy presently, and we promote ourselves that way. So we're happy to have the opportunity to open up our vacation rentals because it means jobs for our restaurants, everybody that the visitors are gonna come and go to," said Ricky Jones, chairman of the Franklin County TDC.

Now for Ingalls and Williams, it's time to make up for lost business.

But that doesn't mean they will forget about our current situation.

"Please be careful when you go out to public places so we're encouraging people to come, be safe at the same time, but enjoy your stay," said Ingalls.

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