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OPINION

LETTER: Local condo owners are suffering

Staff Writer
Northwest Florida Daily News
Northwest Florida Daily News

Gov. Ron DeSantis, in his effort to limit the transmission of COVID-19 by tourists coming to Florida from pandemic hot spots, is certainly understandable and appreciated.

I am in favor of his efforts, but I’m having a great deal of difficulty understanding his methods. The banning of short-term rentals (less than 30 days) for condos only and allowing short-term rentals in hotels, motels and resorts to me is unconscionable. He should ban all short-term rentals or none at all. If he has to pick one or the other, shouldn’t it be the local condos and not the international hotels?

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Families staying in hotels, motel and resorts typically require two or more rooms that have no kitchen facilities or living room areas. They live in areas adjacent to other families. They share exercise areas, pools and restaurant facilities. They typically come and go constantly. Maids come in daily to clean their rooms. They go from room to room, possibly being exposed and spreading the infection to other rooms.

Not being able to cook in their rooms, these visitors are going out to restaurants or grocery stores to pick up their meals several times a day. Because hotels are more densely populated the chance of cross-contamination is greater.

Families staying in condos have kitchens and family rooms. It is much easier to honor social distancing rules. They can cook their own meals, play in less crowded pools and exercise rooms and not expose housekeepers or their families.

I certainly don’t understand his reasoning, but it makes me wonder if pressure is being applied by international hotel chains. Why else would he protect these huge international companies at the expense of the small local condo owners. These condo owners are struggling to pay their mortgages, utilities, and homeowner association dues.

These condo owners have been willing to stay closed for the health of our community, but question why they have been singled out to bare this burden alone.

David Simpkins, Fort Walton Beach