B.C. to impose guest limit for home, houseboat rentals as COVID-19 safeguard
Published Thursday, July 23, 2020 1:17PM PDT Last Updated Thursday, July 23, 2020 6:51PM PDT
VANCOUVER -- B.C. health officials are planning to limit the number of guests allowed in vacation rentals to help combat the province's surging COVID-19 caseload.
Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry announced her latest pending order on Thursday, following several highly publicized parties and gatherings where people failed to properly distance from one another.
Henry said the rules will apply to Airbnb rentals, houseboats and regular boat rentals, but that the guest limits are still being decided. More information will be shared "within the next day," she said.
While much attention has been paid to crowded parties in Kelowna around Canada Day, which have led to at least 70 infections so far, Henry said the new rule will apply to rentals everywhere in the province.
"We know this is not just an issue in the Okanagan, this is an issue that has affected vacation and rental places across B.C.," she said. "This will be another step in ensuring we have the provisions in place that reduce the numbers of people who are gathering and the risk to all of us when this virus is transmitted."
The restrictions will also apply to visitors at rental properties – a measure intended to discourage groups from intermingling in the midst of the pandemic.
"We've seen the challenge is that people get together and then they have parties and they invite people over," Henry said.
As with previous public health orders, the onus on enforcing the guest limits will fall on the owners and operators of rental properties and boats.
While some people rent out properties far from their own homes, Henry said the government can provide support "with local bylaw enforcement and public health enforcement."
The irresponsible behaviour in Kelowna has also now forced more than 1,000 people into self-isolation because of possible COVID-19 exposure.
Henry said she expects some of them will become sick over the coming weeks.