By Chad Ingram
It appears that cottage rental resortsin the county may open for business under provincial guidelines aslong as they abide by proper protocols the Haliburton KawarthaPine Ridge District Health Unit says with that information sent tocounty accommodators by the County of Haliburton last week.
During a May 27 county council meetingthere was some discussion about how private short-term rentals ofcottages were taking place when they weren’t supposed to be whilecottage rental resorts kept their doors closed to abide by theprovince’s emergency orders amid the ongoing COVID-19 crisis.
“Short-term rentals are supposed tobe not operating but they are” said Algonquin Highlands MayorCarol Moffatt at that meeting. “I’m getting an awful lot ofcomplaints and concerns from people who are saying that the rentalplace next to them is you know full of two or three families everyweekend.”
Moffatt who pointed out that motelsand hotels have been allowed to operate creating what she said wasan unfair playing field said she’d been trying to get clearanswers from the province for a couple of months including throughconversations with HKLB MPP Laurie Scott.
“I’ve been pushing to get an answeron short-term rentals since the beginning of this but there reallyis no clear answer” she said. “ … We have many smallbusinesses that are abiding by the provincial orders that areaffected by the situation and some of them are admittedly facingcatastrophic losses.”
Other councillors shared Moffatt’sconcerns and it was resolved the county would write a letter to theprovince seeking greater clarification however on May 29 aftercorresponding with the HKPR District Health Unit county tourismdirector Amanda Virtanen sent an email to the county’saccommodators indicating that resorts may be considered “sharedaccommodations” which are qualified as essential services underemergency orders from the province.
The health unit indicated that resortsin other parts of its jurisdiction as well as in other health unitjurisdictions are operating. Resorts must operate with the samehealth and safety protocols and preventative measures in place asmotels and hotels.
“After much lobbying for a levelplaying field for accommodation businesses in Haliburton County I’mthrilled to learn that permission has been given for cottage resortsto open” Moffatt wrote in a social media post on Friday.“Operators must still comply with public health recommendations andother provincial requirements but this is great news. It’s beenvery difficult to hear the personal stories of accommodators who havefeared the loss of their businesses and livelihoods.”