I personally work in the vacation rental business and while the owners of the houses I work for are taking COVID-19 very seriously and have shut down their rentals until the ban is lifted others have not. Why isn’t there accountability? Orcas Island has the most COVID-19 cases and to see vacation rentals still being run is scary and heartbreaking. You can go on Airbnb, VRBO, HomeAway and book houses in the islands. Everyone can see and book them for the banned dates. Please go see for yourself. I’ve heard some say they are renting to essential workers. While they are essential workers, they aren’t coming to the island to work. They’re essential workers in their home towns not in the islands.
All the vacation rentals running despite the ban should have their vacation rental permit revoked. It is 100 percent reckless on their part. The people who are supposedly in charge of handling vacation rentals’ rules for the San Juan County are failing badly to do the job.
I encourage anyone who doesn’t want potential COVID-19 carriers coming to the islands and using vacation rentals to contact our council members and the Director of community development of San Juan county to push for a vacation rental permit revoke for violators and for there to be accountability. Ask them why people are still able to book vacation rentals. Contact:
Erika Shook: Director of Community Development. Responsible for vacation rental handlings: 360-370-7571, ErikaS@sanjuanco.com.
Bill Watson: Friday Harbor County council district 1:, 360-370-7473, firstname.lastname@example.org.
Rick Hughes: Orcas Island county council district 2: 360-298-5103, Rickh@sanjuanco.com.
Jamie Stephens: Lopez Island county council district 3: 360-378-2898, Jamies@sanjuanco.com.