KITCHENER -- The Ontario government has lifted COVID-19 restrictions on short term rentals of cottages, homes, and other accommodations, which has provided relief for property owners who depend on summer bookings.  

In Norfolk County, cottage season is usually in full swing at this time of year.

“We have a short window of time, to make our money, to basically carry all the properties throughout the full year,” said property owner Brandi Meyers.

The provincial order forced non-essential rental operations to shut down two months ago.

“With three cottages and three properties we’re trying to carry with no income, that was definitely very scary,” said Meyers.

After the restrictions on lodges, cabins, cottages, homes, condos, and bed and breakfast’s were lifted on Friday, Meyers says she’s had plenty of inquiries about availability.

Rentals are now limited to no more than 28 days in Ontario.

“It’s my hope that people will now want to escape for a week to go somewhere,” said Meyers. “Hopefully somewhere they want to support.”

Norfolk County Mayor Kristal Chopp advises renters still follow the guidelines in place.

“If they bring their own groceries with them and they’re not having large gatherings and so on and so forth I don’t see any issue with it,” she said. “I consider this low risk in the context of many other activities that are taking place.”

Public health is not recommending cottage-goers get tested for COVID-19 before going to their rental.

“It’s not a measure to prevent the spread of COVID-19,” said Dr. Hsiu-Li Wang, Acting Medical Officer of Health for the Region of Waterloo. “It’s a measure to detect when someone’s been infected.”

Operators and guests are recommended to continue following physical distancing and social gathering guidelines.

“I will be updating the checklist of all the high touch areas that need to be disinfected and everything that needs to be done,” said Meyers.

In an effort to avoid putting a strain on small town resources, operators are urging people to consider a staycation inside their rental.