With short-term rentals on pause, owners feel the impacts

WALTON AND BAY COUNTIES, Fla. (WJHG/WECP) - This time of year, Florida beaches are normally full of tourists, but the pandemic has caused Governor Ron DeSantis to order short-term rentals to close, which owners say impacts their bottom line.

Short-term rentals are banned until at least April 30th to slow the spread of COVID-19. (WJHG/WECP)

"Every day we're getting cancellations for May, June, even some into July, they're canceling already," Property Manager, Lisa Jones said.

The short-term rental ban only lasts until at least April 30th and could be extended, but with uncertainty surrounding COVID-19, some would-be visitors are canceling for financial reasons.

30A Luxury Rentals co-founder, Chris Gifford said with all the cancellations, and revenue not coming in, their business is suffering.

"Everybody is affected by this, I talk to guests (for) ten-twelve hours a day, and have been for over a month and there's really not anybody that I talk to that hasn't been affected in one way or another, no matter the industry or career that they're in," Gifford said.

Gifford said they are issuing refunds, and credits for rescheduled vacations.

In Panama City Beach, rental owners say they're having the same problems.

"Everything is completely empty, when normally, we're so busy we don't know what to do with ourselves," said Jones.

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