Nassau County submits plan for short-term rental approval

NASSAU COUNTY, Fla. — Nassau County is one step closer to opening back up short-term vacation rentals.

For the last two months, short-term vacation rentals in Nassau county have stood empty.

Brandon Dunlop, the owner of Amelia Island Vacations, says the pandemic has crushed the tourism and hospitality industry.

"If you look back at periods when demand has gone down in the past following 9/11, following the housing crash in 2008, the impact that this has had is equal to both of those combined," Dunlop said.

Action News Jax reported this last week when Gov. Ron DeSantis lessened the restrictions on vacation rental properties.

He said individual counties can submit vacation rental plans to allow them to reopen.

Nassau County commissioners submitted their plan on Tuesday to the Florida Department of Business and Professional Regulation and the governor’s office for consideration.

On Wednesday, commissioners said they’re just waiting to get the approval from the state.

Once they do, they’re hoping to open up vacation rentals before the big Memorial Day weekend.

If this plan is approved, owners of vacation rental homes would have to follow 13 guidelines.

We’ve outlined some of the big ones:

- There's a 10 person occupancy cap for vacation rental units.

- All guests must be screened (those who went on a cruise or those who are from the New York Tri-State area must quarantine for 14 days).

- Remote check ins and check outs must be done to reduce face-to-face contact.

- Employees like housekeepers must wear gloves and masks and do temperature checks.

Dunlop told me that most people in the hospitality industry have already been following CDC protocols to protect their guests, so these guidelines are nothing new.

"From a cleanliness perspective, those standards are necessary when you have people coming in and out of properties," he said.

​We reached out to St. Johns and Duval Counties as well.

They’ve already submitted their proposals to the state for approval and are hoping to also open before Memorial Day weekend. ​