Short term rentals reopen in Walton and Okaloosa Counties

WALTON COUNTY, Fla. (WJHG/WECP) - Jeanne Dailey is the founder and C.E.O. of Newman-Dailey Resort Properties Inc. She's been preparing for this day since short-term vacation rentals were forced to close in March due to the coronavirus outbreak.

The Short Term Rental ban in the panhandle was lifted Tuesday, May 19. (WJHG/WECP)

"I truly feel like we've been running a marathon each and every day for this entire time that it's been closed," said Dailey.

Now that short term rentals are allowed to reopen, new cleaning guidelines have been put in place by the vacation rental management association.

"Put in a lot of new cleaning standards, a lot of new cleaning procedures, we have had owners coming into town, so we've been able to practice those cleaning procedures with them," said Dailey.

Dailey said short term rentals account for 80 percent of stays in Okaloosa County and says she had to lay off half of her staff because of the closure.

"It's one of the hardest things I've ever had to do because even through the oil spill and all the hurricanes, we've never had to lay anybody off," said Dailey.

Visit South Walton’s David Demarest said rentals account for 87 percent of lodging in Walton County.

"While that was closed, that really limited where people could stay, now that it's back open up, you've got a lot more opportunity to come visit,” said Demarest.

Visitors are also reminded to take personal responsibility when it comes to protecting themselves from COVID-19.

A copy of the Walton County short-term rental plan is attached to this article.

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