Avalara MyLodgeTax > Blog > State and Local News > Georgia, South Carolina lift pandemic restrictions on short-term rentals

Georgia, South Carolina lift pandemic restrictions on short-term rentals

  • May 5, 2020 | Jennifer Sokolowsky

front porch rocker

Georgia Governor Brian Kemp has allowed short-term rentals within the state to go back to business beginning May 1. Kemp had ordered vacation rentals closed starting April 8.

Kemp said via Twitter that he decided to reopen vacation rentals “based on favorable data and stakeholder input.” He said guests should still practice social distancing.

Several states have closed short-term rentals as part of efforts to prevent the spread of COVID-19, especially by visitors coming from other locations. Georgia is the first state to lift such restrictions statewide, although individual local governments in some states have allowed vacation rentals to resume operations.

In South Carolina, Governor Henry McMaster has lifted a ban on short-term rentals accepting reservations for guests from COVID-19 hot spots. People entering the state from hot spots are no longer required to self-quarantine for two weeks.

The city of Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, allowed short-term rentals and hotels to reopen May 1. No new reservations can be accepted until May 15, although existing reservations will be honored. The city has also put new rules in place for hygiene and social distancing measures at accommodations.

Horry County, North Myrtle Beach, Surfside Beach, and Georgetown County have also allowed vacation rentals to reopen.

In North Carolina, Ocean Isle Beach vacation rentals were allowed to reopen, along with beaches and public parking, as of April 30. Short-term rentals can also resume operations in McDowell County.

Meanwhile, in Florida, short-term rentals must remain closed under a new executive order issued by Governor Ron DeSantis outlining the first phase of the state’s reopening plan.

On March 27, DeSantis ordered all vacation rentals in the state to suspend operations until at least April 30. Exemptions included rentals to guests working as part of military, emergency, government, health, or infrastructure response, and travelers engaged in non-vacation commercial activities.

Other lodgings, such as hotels, were allowed to continue to operate if they followed social distancing guidelines. However, in some counties, including Brevard County, hotels were shut down as well. Brevard County is reopening hotels as of May 4, but short-term rentals must remain closed statewide until the governor issues a new order.

Get the latest tax relief information

For updated information on other local and federal responses to the pandemic that may affect short-term rental hosts, including income tax and property tax relief, see our COVID-19 tax relief page.

Lodging tax rates, rules, and regulations change frequently. Although we hope you'll find this information helpful, this blog is for informational purposes only and does not provide legal or tax advice.
Avalara Author
Jennifer Sokolowsky
Avalara Author Jennifer Sokolowsky
Jennifer Sokolowsky writes about tax, legal, and tech topics. She has an extensive international background in journalism and marketing, including work with The Seattle Times, The Prague Post, Avvo, and Marriott.

Are you collecting the right lodging tax rate on your vacation rental?