Ahead of the Independence Day weekend, Surgeon General Scott Rivkees and Airbnb have issued a reminder to people to maintain social distancing and to avoid house parties.
To adhere to local rules, the popular vacation rental service Airbnb previously announced it would restrict parties and events at listings if local COVID-19 precautions prevented gatherings. And Thursday, the company announced it would limit people younger than 25 from renting an entire home locally unless the renters have records of good reviews.
“With Florida bars and Southeast Florida beaches closing, we do not want anyone developing the notion that it is okay to simply take social gatherings over to vacation rentals or hotels,” Airbnb Vice President Margaret Richardson said. “Everyone should heed the guidance of Surgeon General Rivkees, as well as state and local officials, to wear masks, socially distance and avoid gatherings. Airbnb will be working to stop Florida house parties before they start, and we will not hesitate to ban anyone who attempts to violate our strict party policies.”
Rivkees reminded Floridians to avoid closed spaces, crowded places and close-contact settings, which health experts have dubbed the Three Cs.
“This 4th of July, as we celebrate with family and friends, it is important that we all remain vigilant in our pursuit of curbing the effects of COVID-19 and doing everything we can to protect our state’s most vulnerable residents,” Rivkees said.
Airbnb and other vacation rental services have become popular getaway and party options, particularly among younger demographics. And as the latest COVID-19 surges in Florida and across the Sun Belt come largely from younger Americans, Gov. Ron DeSantis and health experts are asking younger Floridians to adhere to precautions for the sake of at-risk populations.
In late March, DeSantis suspended short-term vacation rentals statewide in an attempt to limit travel to Florida. That executive order came as the state restricted travelers from the New York City area and New Orleans.
While that restriction was in place for more than a month, rental owners and local leaders complained the order unfairly targeted the industry while allowing hotels and motels to operate uninterrupted. In mid-May, DeSantis lifted the complete ban and allowed individual counties to file to reopen the industry locally.
Rental hosts normally have the option to list “parties and events allowed” as a rule if it is appropriate within their communities. But during the pandemic, that option has been removed in Florida.
This article first appeared at Florida Politics.
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