The coronavirus crisis brings out the lack of common sense in politicians on both sides of the aisle. It also brings out the snitch in our fellow citizens who are told to tattle on each other. What’s happening in Florida’s Panhandle is a perfect example of what’s wrong with some of the poorly thought out decisions by governors.

Florida Governor Ron DeSantis opened beaches and hotels but has issued an Executive Order banning the rental of vacation properties devastating the rental companies along Florida’s Panhandle. Dozens of employees have already been laid off but the owners of the rental companies and real estate could bankrupt businesses and properties.

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“We are just so upset with the governor right now. He’s devastating this whole Panhandle area because everybody here lives off of vacation rentals.” – Beth Jones, President of Blue Swell Rentals

The problem with Governor DeSantis’ EO is that hotels are still open forcing vacationers to crowd into closer quarters as opposed to staying in a house where families stay together and don’t have to go out to restaurants as they do at hotels:

Jones makes a great case for why the ban is unreasonable: “Our hotels were booked all weekend, slammed. People don’t care, they’re coming to the beach because they’re sick of being in their house.” 

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The short-term vacation rental ban does not cover hotels, motels, inns, or resorts, but does cover condominiums.

Walton County also promotes snitching on vacation renters. The Sheriff spoke out a few days ago and said that the renters are “rude” when he evicts them from the home they rented.  Walton County Sheriff Adkinson bragged about a Canadian  resident recently evicted from a vacation rental: “Good luck getting back across the border with an outstanding warrant.”

The Walton Sun reports Adkinson provided the public with two non-emergency office telephone numbers — (850) 892-8186 and (850) 892-1111 — to call to report potential violations of the short-term vacation rental ban.

The Sheriff said that DeSantis’ order is about the possibility that resulting crowds from rental properties would facilitate the spread of COVID-19. This makes no sense because DeSantis is allowing hotels to become totally booked putting beachgoers in hotel elevators and restaurants.

Sheriff Adkinson said Walton’s beaches,  “certainly not overcrowded.”  He also said beach-goers are complying with CDC guidance on not gathering in groups of more than 10 people and maintaining six feet of separation.

Would it not be better to allow vacation rentals? We’d like to know what you think about this EO by DeSantis.

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