Glenwood Springs City Council to look at possibly restricting vacation rentals during stay-at-home order
Despite a statewide stay-at-home order, some vacation rentals in Glenwood Springs remain available.
Thursday, at its regularly scheduled meeting, city council will look at possible restrictions for VRBOs (vacation rentals by owner) during the stay-at-home order.
“If people flee big cities and come here, I don’t think that’s a good idea until we know how bad this is going to get,” said Councilor Tony Hershey. “We can’t have people coming here and getting sick, or bringing COVID(-19) from other places.”
According to Public Information Officer Hannah Klausman, Glenwood Springs has 99 vacation rentals on the grid – 88 short-term rentals and 11 accessory tourist rentals.
Short-term rental owners can rent out an entire residence whereas those operating accessory tourist rentals can only offer a single room.
The city has not limited any vacation rental owner’s ability to rent out property to guests at this time.
“All of this has to boil down to common sense,” Councilor Rick Voorhees said. “I hope the short term rental people haven’t been booking new reservations.”
Some vacation rentals in Glenwood Springs still show availability on sites like vrbo.com. whereas others will not accept any reservations until the end of April.
Many area hotels and motels have also elected to close their doors temporarily and voluntarily.
The state’s standing public health order identifies “Hotels, and places of accommodation” as a critical business exempt from Gov. Jared Polis’ stay-at-home order.
“Every exemption that we make just seems to allow another loophole for somebody,” Voorhees said. “At some point self-responsibility has to take over.”
At last week’s special city council meeting, councilors did not vote on a resolution that would have adopted the city’s own public health order.
Many of the restrictions in Glenwood’s public health order were already instituted in Gov. Jared Polis’ executive order declared shortly before council’s own special meeting.
However, the city’s own public health order would have placed stricter regulations on short-term lodging businesses including hotels, motels, bed and breakfasts and short-term rentals.
“We do not have enough ICU beds, we do not have enough ventilators to accommodate an influx of people from other areas,” Mayor Jonathan Godes said. “Any venue that contributes to, potentially, the transportation or transmission of infected people from one community to the next – we got to shut it down.”
Had it been approved as written last Thursday, the city’s public health order would have prevented short-term lodging businesses from taking new reservations from March 26 until an unspecified date in April.
The city’s order would have also forced short-term lodging units to vacate their premises with some exceptions; local workers, individuals experiencing symptoms of illness and anyone under a quarantine or isolation order from Garfield County would have been permitted to stay.
Whether or not council decides to adopt any of those additional measures remains to be seen at Thursday’s meeting.
“I just want to have the discussion,” Hershey said.
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