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City council falls in line with county on rentals
May 22, 2020

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During a special meeting on May 21, the Sanibel City Council adopted Lee County's state-approved amended standards for vacation and accommodation rentals, as well as clarified its policy on the wearing of face coverings.

In an unanimous 5-0 vote, the council approved the county's rental guidelines of:

- Vacation rentals reservations and stays will be allowed from all U.S. states with COVID-19 case rates less than 700 cases per 100,000 residents. COVID-19 cases per 100,000 population by state can be found at www.cdc.gov/covid-data-tracker/index.html; hover your curser over the vacationer's state of residence and a box will open with information, including cases per 100,000 population.

- Shall prohibit rentals to persons traveling internationally.

- Shall allow adequate time between the conclusion of a guest stay and the check-in of the next guest stay for appropriate cleaning and sanitation.

- Shall clean and disinfect all frequently-touched surfaces in the property between each guest stay.

- Shall wash all linens, dishware and other service items available for use by guests between each guest rental.

- Shall provide sufficient soap and surface sanitation supplies for guests to utilize in the vacation rental property during the guest's rental period.

- Shall ensure adequate safety protocols are in place and publicly displayed, in line with CDC guidance, regarding shared or multi-residence amenities such as pools, gyms and other communal spaces.

- Shall follow CDC guidelines for cleaning and disinfecting their facility, per the CDC site at www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/community/disinfecting-building-facility.html.

On the subject of accommodation rentals, including hotels, motels and timeshares, the council also voted 5-0 to adopt the county's same guidelines, in order to be consistent with vacation rentals.

In addition, the council voted 5-0 to revert to a prior city proclamation and resolution on the wearing of face coverings - or masks. According to the language now in effect, it "orders places of public accommodations to strictly adhere to all Center for Disease Control and Florida Department of Health Guidance to stop the spread of COVID-19."

Also last week, Mayor Kevin Ruane extended the city's declared state of emergency - originally declared in response to COVID-19 - until May 26, unless it is further extended.

The proclamation he issued also outlined the following:

- Reopening the non-beach parking lots of Roadside City Park, at 1380 Periwinkle Way, and Pond Apple Park Trailhead and Sanibel & Captiva Islands Chamber Visitor Center, at 1159 Causeway Blvd.

- Modifying certain temporary beach and pool furniture restrictions

- Updating the list of lodging establishments subject to restrictions on hotels, motels and timeshares

According to the proclamation, the same percentage of beach furniture and pool deck chairs and lounges are allowed as is permissible by the current occupancy restrictions. For example, if occupancy is capped at 50 percent, then only 50 percent of such furniture may be out and available for use.

In addition, RLR Investments - doing business as the Sundial Beach Resort - has been added to the list of hotels, motels and timeshares subject to the temporary restrictions on public lodging establishments. It received a motel license through the state on May 18, with 227 units included in the "Sundial Beach Resort Motel Rental Program." Condominiums not identified as part of the program are not subject to the temporary restrictions.

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