The City of Bend has issued new rules for short term rentals and lodging properties to help stem the tide of COVID cases in the region.
The new regulations, agreed to at Wednesday’s city council meeting, remain in effect until the city enters Phase 2 of the statewide reopening plan.
· A 24-hour waiting between bookings whenever a guest has known or suspected COVID-19, for safety of housekeeping personnel and next guests
· Pre check-in communication with guests regarding COVID-19 health guidelines and community concerns
· Adherence to and support for Oregon Health Authority (OHA) mask and distancing guidelines, including limiting group sizes
· Rigorous sanitation plans and protections for the housekeeping staff
“A lot of operators are already doing these things,” said City Manager Eric King. “This just raises the bar for everyone.”
Prior to finalizing the lodging operations regulations, city staff worked with public health experts with Deschutes County Public Health and representatives of Bend’s hotel and short term rental industries who manage approximately 800 hotel room and 50 short term rentals, a significant share of Bend’s 3,128 hotel and motel rooms and 991 short term rentals.
“Like everyone else in our community, these operators expressed concerns about ensuring their facilities are sanitary, compliant with Oregon Health Authority guidelines, and that they have adequate plans in place to protect staff and guests should a confirmed COVID-19 infection occur in one of their facilities,” said Business Advocate Ben Hemson. “Generally, lodging facilities seem very open to increased sanitation plans and communication about public health best practices.”
“We need help from the lodging industry,” said Councilor Barb Campbell. “Their customers need to understand that the virus is here too. Visitors, locals, all of us need to wear our masks and physically distance from others.”
Gov. Kate Brown has required masks for customers, employees and visitors age five and older when indoors, and outdoors when six-foot physical distancing is not possible.
The City of Bend issued an order to make these rules enforceable through the City’s Police or Code Enforcement processes.