Ontario will allow all short-term rentals to operate
The Airbnb website is seen in this file photo. (AFP PHOTO/John MACDOUGALL)
TORONTO -- The Ontario government says the short-term rental of cottages, condos and other sites will be permitted to resume starting Friday.
Minister of Economic Development Victor Fedeli made the announcement on Twitter Thursday afternoon after the province shut down non-essential short-term rental operations due to COVID-19 exactly two months ago.
“Short term rentals including lodges, cabins, cottages, homes, condominiums and B&Bs will be allowed to resume operations in Ontario starting June 5 at 12:01 a.m.,” the minister tweeted.
Under Ontario’s Emergency Management and Civil Protection Act, short-term rentals — defined as 28 days or less — are currently only allowed to be rented to people in need of emergency housing.
The order was made on April 4, but hotels, motels and student residences were still allowed to continue operating.
“I know there are a lot of people that need that income and there are a lot of people that want to rent the place,” Ontario Premier Doug Ford told reporters at a news conference Thursday. “So we are working on that right now.”
In a statement Thursday, the province provided advice for operators and those renting.
"Owners should consult health and safety guidelines related to the tourism and hospitality sector when considering how they can reopen their doors to guest," the statement said.
"Operators and guests should continue to practice physical distancing, wear a face covering when physical distancing is a challenge, and wash hands frequently."
Last month, top health officials in the province warned Ontarians not to flock to their cottages during the pandemic because it could put an unpreceded strain on small town resources.
Ivana Yelich, a spokesperson for the premier's office, told CTV News Toronto on Thursday that the premier now advises those who choose to visit their cottage to practise public health recommendations.
Yelich said that regions that are concerned about the reopening could implement their own measures to prevent short-term rentals from operating.
"We have heard from many regions that they would like to see us relax those rules, but local public health units are empowered to issue their own orders under the public health act," she said.
"If they don’t feel that their region is ready for this, they can certainly issue their own restrictions and orders and keep those restrictions in place when it comes to short term rentals."