PANAMA CITY BEACH, Fla. (WMBB) – Florida Governor Ron DeSantis announced Friday that each county would have to submit a safety plan to him if they want short-term rentals to open up in their communities.
The Bay County Chamber, the Tourist Development Council and Panama City Beach made that safety plan and submitted it to the Florida Department of Business and Professional Regulation Friday night.
“For Bay County, essentially, we are probably the biggest person who have vacation rentals so what we want to do is we want to make sure the voice is heard for everyone who owns a vacation rental here and the visitors who want to come to Panama City Beach,” Panama City Beach Mayor Mark Sheldon said.
This comes after Mayor Sheldon sent a letter to the Governor last week asking him to lift the ban on vacation rentals.
“I truly believe the governor hear our voice and again I know a lot of work has gone into this behind the scenes, folks working hard to try and make sure we are pushing to the right direction. Everybody’s emails, everybody’s phone calls, everybody’s voice matters and I truly believe the governor has heard our voice,” Sheldon said.
Vacation rental owners, like James Dorgan, didn’t see how the ban was fair in the first place.
“We’ve had to repeatedly had to cancel the guest, refund the guest, they drive down here and go stay at Hampton Inn for five times the price,” Dorgan said.
Dorgan said getting the safety plan submitted to the state was a step in the right direction.
“This is the first crack or first hint or glimmer of hope for these vacation rental owners. We finally have a little hope that maybe, maybe we’ll be able to reopen our calendar and allow vacationers to stay here instead of booking all the hotels up in Panama City Beach,” Dorgan said.
Here’s the full safety plan that was submitted to the Governor Friday:
The plan follows the CDC guidelines and places an emphasis on sanitation to make sure everybody stays safe.