Panama City Beach Opens Short-term Rentals

Just in time for Memorial Day, vacation rentals in the Florida panhandle are allowed to book guests again. As of May 19th, officials have approved the Bay County plan to reopen short-term rentals effective immediately. 

Bay, Okaloosa, Walton, Gulf, Franklin, Escambia, and Santa Rosa Counties are all now allowed short-term rentals after Governor Ron DeSantis approved each county’s rental safety plans submitted last week.

The safety plan Bay County submitted can be seen here.

Travel Restrictions:

Vacation rentals reservations and stays will be allowed from all U.S. states with a COVID-19 Case Rate less than 500 cases/100K residents as of May 14, 2020.

Vacation rental reservations, from areas identified by Governor DeSantis as high risk through Executive Orders, must be for periods longer than the quarantine period established in that Order. Guests occupying those vacation rentals must adhere to the quarantine restrictions or be subject to established criminal and civil penalties. (Currently, EO 20-82, New York, New Jersey and Connecticut. Article updated to reflect that Louisiana was removed from this list in June.)

The locales for which rentals are prohibited or restricted may vary by county and could change as the state of Florida takes ongoing looks at the spread of COVID-19 across the United States.

The Florida Governor’s plan for reopening can be seen here.

For additional guidelines for visitor’s, click here.

To book your short term rental, check: condos, beach houses.

Other measures still in place:


Social distancing protocols will be enforced, including maintaining group size to under 10 and having a six-foot separation between groups and individuals of differing parties.

As of May 18, restaurants were allowed to open at 50% capacity indoors and outdoor seating is encouraged. Retail, museums and libraries were also allowed to open at 50% capacity indoors.

Gyms and fitness centers reopened as well with social distancing and sanitizing of equipment after each use. “If you’re inside, make sure you’re doing the social distance and then sanitize machines and surfaces after use,” Gov. DeSantis said. “I mean, that should be happening anyway.”

Barber shops, hair salons and nail salons re-opened May 11 while adhering to safety protocols.

Professional sports teams can also train and teams are welcome in Florida.

Theaters and bars remain closed for now.

Theme parks will be able to reopen as they submit a plan that is approved.

State Parks began re-opening May 4. During the early phase of re-opening, visitors should expect limited hours, capacity and amenities.