Massachusetts transitioned from Phase I to Phase II of the re-opening process last summer, including the lifting of the ban on short-term rentals – with certain restrictions and recommendations. View the full Safety Standards and Checklist: Operators of Lodging from the Mass.gov website.
On the website, it is stated, “Operators of unstaffed, individual unit lodging facilities such as short-term home or apartment rentals are required to comply with the hygiene standards specified.”
Much of the language on the Mass.gov site lumps all lodging (including hotels, motels, inns, and B&B’s) together with short-term rentals (STR’s). But we have culled out all the language that is specific to STR’s for your ease.
We are also including some links (below) to downloadable checklists and logs to assist you as you manage your rentals throughout this challenging time.
- Provide a Contactless Check-In procedure for guests
- Improve ventilation for enclosed spaces where possible (e.g., open doors and windows)
- All owners, Property Managers, and Cleaning Staff adhere to safety guidelines and precautions (face-coverings, self-screening, etc.)
- Instruct guests prior to and during their stay to adhere to safety guidelines and precautions when leaving the home. (View Beach Protocol)
- Use contactless pick-up and delivery protocols (e.g., linen service, equipment deliveries)
- To support contact tracing, maintain a log of anyone who enters your rental (e.g. family, your guests, turnover staff, service providers, etc.), including their name, date, time, contact information. [Download sample Visitor Log (PDF file) or (Editable File)]
- Remove or limit paper amenities. Remove pens, paper, and guest directory, magazines and brochures. Supplement with digital material if requested.
Cleaning and Disinfecting
- Ensure access to handwashing agents on site, including soap.
- Practice enhanced room sanitation by cleaning and sanitizing all hard surfaces at a minimum each time a guest checks out and before the next guest is admitted, and laundering all linens, bedspreads and covers.
- When dirty linens are removed and transported from the property, they should be placed in single-use, sealed bags, and pillow protectors on the beds should be changed in between guests. All bed linens and laundry should be washed at a high temperature and cleaned in accordance with CDC guidelines.
- Keep cleaning logs that include date, time, and scope of cleaning. [Download our Sample Cleaners Log (PDF File) or (Editable file).]
- In the event that a guest presents a presumptive case of COVID-19 or a positive case, the room used by that guest may only be returned to service after undergoing an enhanced sanitization protocol, in accordance with CDC guidelines.
Creating a time buffer between guests
The state’s Safety Standards say, “Consider leaving guest rooms vacant for 24 hours as part of cleaning protocol to allow for deep cleaning, disinfectant and cleaners to dry, and reasonable air exchange.” Although hotels/motels are better situated to have a 24-hour buffer between guests, it is not a requirement, and it’s much more challenging for STR’s, which may already be booked back-to-back weekly.
It is recommended that you review your standard turnover procedures and extend the turnover time to allow for the required cleaning services to be completed.
Communicate in advance with your guests any changes to either your check-in or check-out times. Explain to them that these measures are taken to ensure everyone’s safety. If guests are concerned about insufficient turnover time, consider offering them a check-in option the next day. This would reduce their weekly rental to a 6-night stay. Thus, you might consider prorating their stay. View our post Flexible Booking Strategies for 2020.
Quarantine for Out-of-State Guests
“Lodging operators must inform guests at the time a reservation is made and at check-in of the Commonwealth’s policy urging travelers to self-quarantine for 14 days when arriving in Massachusetts from out of state.”
Note: Self -quarantining for out of state guests is urged by the state but is not a requirement. The state does require you to inform your guests of this guidance, but they are not required to quarantine. The state also asks you to educate all your guests, regardless of where they are coming from, about how to vacation safely and responsibly (state social distancing guidelines, wear a mask in public, beach guidelines, etc.).
It’s imperative that every short-term rental home maintain the standards set by the mandates and recommendations from the Governor’s office and the CDC to assure the safety of your service providers, your guests, and yourselves. Sometimes this requires common sense as well as the following of guidelines.
And don’t forget to communicate your efforts to your guests! They will naturally be anxious about the risks of entering your home. By informing them of what you and your cleaners have done, you will give them valuable peace of mind. [Download our Sample Cleaning Checklist (PDF File) or (Editable File).]
Cleaning and Turnovers
- Cleaning Checklist: (In English) PDF File or Word Doc
- Cleaning Checklist: (In Spanish) PDF File or Word Doc
- Cleaners Log: (In English) PDF File or Word Doc
- Cleaners Log: (In Spanish) PDF File or Word Doc
- Visitor Log: PDF file or Word Doc
- CDC Cleaning and Disinfection for Households: Read more
- Checking in with your booked guests Download template
- Sample leases: Read more (login required)
- CDC Information on Coronavirus: Read more
- MA Information on the Outbreak of Coronavirus Disease 2019: Read more
- Stop the Spread of Germs (CDC): View PDF
- More Printables from CDC: View more
- Vacationing Responsibly: Read more
- What to Expect at Local Beaches: Read more
- Beach Guidelines Read more
- Printable Beach Safety Rules (Cape Cod Reopening Task Force): Download PDF
- Getting back to the Cape & Islands RESPONSIBLY: View video
- What’s Open, What’s Closed on Martha’s Vineyard: Read more
- Open Food & Dining Options on Nantucket: Read more
- Face Mask graphic Download pdf