Here's what you need to know about cottage rentals in Ontario this summer
Cottage rentals in Ontario on Airbnb or other platforms that offer short-term rentals — defined as 28 days or less — have been permitted to resume. That includes cabins, lodges and bed and breakfasts too.
It also means that enjoying a bit of cottage country might be in the cards this summer. But since the province gave the green light to these types of rentals, there has still been some confusion around what the current rules are when staying at a cottage during the pandemic.
Here’s what you need to know when it comes to renting a cottage in Ontario this summer.
There’s now an extenuating circumstances policy on Airbnb, which provides coverage for pandemic related cancellations.
But this only applies to reservations made on or before March 14, 2020, with a check-in date between March 14 and July 15, 2020. If the government bans short-term rentals again and you're unable to travel to your cottage location, you'll be entitled to a full refund.
If you're booking now but are worried about things changing due to the evolving pandemic affecting your plans, choose a rental that has cancellation flexibility since the COVID-19 policy no longer applies at this time, unless you've contracted the coronavirus.
It’s still important you respect provincial social distancing guidelines by staying with members of your 10 person social circle only, and not holding any parties or large group gatherings.
You can help minimize person-to-person contact even more during your stay by going for cottage listings that are isolated, free from close neighbours, and offer a private entrance, as well as an option for self check-in and check-out.
To limit the strain on small-town resources, operators are urging people to consider a staycation at their rental, avoid venturing into nearby communities, and avoid using local health providers except for emergencies.
If you plan on visiting a nearby park, emergency responders recommend taking extra safety measures to avoid emergency calls for medical assistance. This includes giving yourself lots of time to ensure you can get back before it gets dark and avoiding challenging hikes and climbs.
A new Airbnb enhanced cleaning initiative will be introduced in Canada in a few weeks. The program will allow hosts to enroll in a course to earn a special highlight on their listing page to show guests that they're following rigorous sanitation guidelines.
Other hosts can opt to enforce longer 72-hour vacancy periods between each guest after performing a regular clean of the space. Hosts who offer these booking buffers will also be easily identifiable so that you can decide at the time of booking which type of host you'd prefer.
With more work and time going into the cleaning and sanitization process, some hosts will be up-ing their cleaning fee, with the desired increase up to them. Keep in mind that this fee won't be returned to you at the end of the reservation but included in the final cost for the rental.
Check-in and check-out times may also be altered due to the additional cleaning, but this will depend on the listing.
Though there are strict new cleaning protocols in place, it might give you added peace of mind if you do a sanitizing walk-through of your own when you arrive at the cottage.
Experts suggest disinfecting the flat surfaces, including countertops, door handles, phones, TV remotes, bathroom faucets, and toilet handles. Even running the utensils and dishware through the dishwasher might be helpful in catching any extra germs that have been left behind from previous guests.
It's good practice to never leave home without hand sanitizer and disinfecting wipes – especially when you’ll be staying at a rental for a few days. There have also been recommendations to bring your own groceries to the cottage to limit trips into town.
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