Rental Properties Open In Garrett County



The Garrett County Commissioner held an emergency public meeting on Zoom today in response to Governor Larry Hogan's press conference from May 13 where he addressed plans to begin implementing Stage One of his reopening plans referred to as "Maryland Strong Roadmap to Recovery". Commission Chair, Paul Edwards read into the public record an amendment to an earlier executive order. The amendment reflected input from local health officer, Bob Stephens, the Garrett County Health Department, other local health personnel, and the director of Emergency Management and Emergency Services. Garrett County adopted a local state of emergency in response to the COVID-19 pandemic on March 22 and extended the order on April 21. Although the state of emergency will remain in effect the announced amendment will modify its parameters to allow "stage one" from the Maryland Strong Roadmap to Recovery "low risk" activities outlined by the Hogan administration. The earlier closing of all Transient Vacation Rental Units, (TVRUs) and rental properties have been rescinded and will be allowed to reopen effective May 14, 2020, provided their operations comply with certain mandatory guidelines which include remote check-in and enhanced cleaning using EPA or CDC approved disinfectants in high-touch, high-traffic areas. Owners must also comply with guidelines from the Vacation Rental Management Association. Employees overseeing or cleaning rental units will be required to follow protocols that protect themselves and guests through proper cleaning and self-safety measures and practicing personal hygiene. Guests are required to use remote check-in and are encouraged to bring their own groceries, cleaning items, and supplies to reduce the burden on the local community. Guests are also asked to follow state and local safety guidelines that include social distancing and wearing face masks in public establishments, using hand sanitizers, and engaging in frequent hand washing. If a guest becomes symptomatic or tests positive for the virus, they are required to self-isolate and contact TVRU or rental property owners immediately before checking out so the health dept and cleaning staff can respond promptly and responsibly. "Gatherings of more than 10 is still prohibited," said Edwards. "Phase-one does not change that." He also pointed out that groups of more than 10 non-family members in rental units are still prohibited. Edwards expressed that the Commissioner reserve the right to reverse their decision in the event there is a marked increase in locally confirmed cases of COVID-19 requiring intensive care, people are not practicing social distancing guidelines or a significant outbreak occurs where contact tracing cannot identify a source. "Restaurants and bars are not being opened," said Edwards to address questions he received following Hogan's address. "They are still closed for in-house or outdoor dining. Curbside pickup and delivery are still okay but nothing has changed with restaurants and bars with this [amendment]." Garrett County