Georgetown Co. joins other municipalities in prohibiting short-term rentals during virus outbreak

Local News

(WBTW) – Georgetown County Council has passed an ordinance banning short-term rentals during the coronavirus outbreak, joining several other local municipalities.

Georgetown County Council held an emergency meeting over the phone this morning “to enact a ban on short-term rentals during the COVID-19 crisis,” the county says. “The ordinance adopted by council bans new short term rentals in all unincorporated areas of the county beginning at 12 a.m. March 28 and lasting until May 1.”

“The ban applies to all accommodations businesses in unincorporated areas of the county, including but not limited to condos, hotels, beach houses, Airbnb, campgrounds, hunting cabins and other overnight lodgings. All are prohibited from accepting new reservations for any period of time through the end of April. Any exiting reservations for this time period must be modified or cancelled,” Georgetown County’s ordinance also says. “Visitors currently checked in prior to 12 a.m. March 28 may remain through their existing reservation, but such reservations may not be extended. Any units consistently occupied by the same occupant since March 1 are exempt, but new occupants including family and friends cannot be added at the unit. Also excluded are short-term rentals for applicable health, government, military, law enforcement and other personnel responding to the ongoing COVID-19 emergency.”

Georgetown Co. leaders say a violation of this ordinance is punishable by a fine of $200 or 30 days in jail for each day of violation.

Surfside Beach Town Council passed the ordinance during an emergency meeting Friday morning, saying it will begin at 11 a.m. Saturday, March 28 and be in effect through April 30.

“Rental and use of Short-Term Rentals, including, but not limited to Hotels, Motels, Condo Hotels, Rental Properties, inclusive of private management companies and HOA’s, Airbnb, VRBO style lodging, and other Overnight Accommodations for 29 days or less beginning 11 a.m. Saturday, March 28, 2020 through April 30, 2020 shall be prohibited,” the ordinance reads. “Visitors currently checked in may remain until the end of their existing reservations. Exempt: Short-Term Rentals extended to Government, Hospital, Health Agency, Law Enforcement, Military and other Critical Personnel actively responding to COVID-19.”

Also on Friday, Pawleys Island Town Council passed an emergency ordinance banning short-term rentals from 5 p.m. Saturday, March 28 through April 30, the council’s website says.

“Visitors currently checked in may remain until the end of their existing reservations,” the ordinance for Pawleys Island says. “Long-term rentals of 30 days or more are still permitted by showing a valid lease agreement.”

Horry County Council has also prohibited shorter-term rentals and amusement type activities in the unincorporated areas of Horry County. Horry County Council’s ordinance begins 11 a.m. on Saturday, March 28 and will last through April 30. Read more here.

North Myrtle Beach City Council also passed an ordinance prohibiting short-term rentals out of coronavirus concerns. The emergency order, among other things, suspends the rental and use of short-term rentals, hotels, public and private campgrounds, and other overnight accommodations beginning at 7 a.m. on Friday through April 30. More information here.

Myrtle Beach City Council ordered all hotels, motels and rentals to stop accepting reservations immediately until May 1 and all visitors occupying these types of accommodations must vacate by noon on Sunday. Read more here.

Count on News13 for updates.

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