JACKSONVILLE BEACH, Fla. — Visitors can make start making reservations as normal at Northeast Florida hotels Monday, but short-term rentals still aren’t allowed.
Gov. Ron DeSantis claims it's to keep people from flocking to the Sunshine State for a little get-a-way and to limit further spread of COIVD-19.
“I think it’s absolutely arbitrary to single us out. Show me the data that says staying in a hotel is safer than staying in an Airbnb or vacation rental." Kent Ammons said. "We don’t even have to make contact with the people coming in.”
Ammons has rented out his two-unit property on Jacksonville Beach for a year. Right now, his listing looks a little different on the Airbnb site because of state and local restrictions.
Usually, the business pays for itself, but Ammons hasn’t been able to take in any money from renters this past month.
“I’m having to come out of pocket on a firefighter’s salary to cover all of my business expenses. The mortgage, the taxes, insurance, utilities and all that,” he explained.
Ammons said local vacation property owners have two options right now. Either rent it out to essential medical workers or find someone who needs to rent longer than a month, which he admitted is no easy task.
“Hopefully I’m hanging on and I can make it through. I lost the biggest booking weekend of the year, which is TPC, due to COVID, he said. "So, that put a huge burden on me. That is actually the biggest month too because we have spring break here in Florida.”