State approves Manatee County vacation rental reopening plan

State approves Manatee County vacation rental reopening plan
Posted on 05/21/2020

MANATEE COUNTY, FL (May 21, 2020) – Manatee County received state approval for its plan to allow local vacation rentals to reopen safely and quickly under a set of health and safety protocols.

Under the plan vacation rental agencies may now accept bookings from residents of U.S. states with an overall COVID-19 Case Rate within the state of less than 700 cases/100K residents as of May 15, 2020. Reservations from COVID-19 hot spots identified by the Governor are to be avoided for the next 30 - 45 days. Reservations from international travelers will not be accepted.

Other guidelines spell out protocols vacation rental owners must follow to implement social distancing and still others that address the cleanliness standards of the property. County Administrator Cheri Coryea said the guidelines will be mostly self policing but if people spot potential violations they can report them as with other violations during the COVID-19 outbreak earlier this year.

“Because vacation rentals have been closed during the pandemic, we're asking that vacation rental managers take extra precautions to make sure their renters have access to and follow the guidelines in the approved plan," Coryea said. "(Owners) should ensure that their renters are aware and abide by the approved plan, but also any municipal restrictions in the city where the rental is located. Opening vacation rentals has been accelerated by the state recently and having a smooth transition in all cities and across the County is extremely important for our success.”

Mega Food Pantry to offer fresh food at State College of Florida on Tuesdays beginning next week

Feeding Tampa Bay will set up a mega food pantry for local families in need of fresh food next week.

The mega pantry will take place every Tuesday, 3:30 - 6:30 p.m., at State College of Florida on through at least the end of June. Feeding Tampa Bay will be prepared to serve 1,000 families with care packages that will include three-to-four days of food.

The Mega Pantry distribution program was created to meet the increased need for food assistance due to the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic. Feeding Tampa Bay is working in partnership with the Manatee County Government, the Manatee Sheriff's Office, the Early Learning Coalition and State College of Florida.

In addition, the Salvation Army will offer free veggie boxes to visitors every Wednesday through June 24 from 9 a.m. to noon at its location off State Road 70. The address is 5328 24th St. E., Bradenton.

COVID-19 testing update

Local COVID-19 cases trended downward as an overall segment of Manatee County's population for the 17th consecutive day today. The steady decline is the result of a huge influx in local testing availability in locations throughout the County.

The Department of Health in Manatee County has appointment availability tomorrow at its drive-through collection site at the Bradenton Area Convention Center, 1 Haben Boulevard. Testing is done 9 a.m. - 4 p.m. It is open to all Manatee County residents and no prescription or doctor's referral is required. For appointments, call (941) 242-6656 or (941) 748-0747.

Beginning Tuesday, May 26, drive through testing hours of operation will be Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. to 4 p.m., at two MCR Health locations:

  • East Manatee Health and Wellness Center
    1312 Manatee Ave E, Bradenton, (941) 708-8700
  • Southeast Family Healthcare Center
    919 53rd Ave E, Bradenton, (941) 751-8100

To date, MCR Health has administered 4,964 tests and 15,307 screenings for COVID -19 in Manatee County.

Visit MCR Health's Coronavirus Resource Center for new updates based on CDC recommendations.

The regional testing site near the University Town Center Mall off University Parkway continues to test hundreds of potential COVID-19 patients each day from 9 a.m. - 5 p.m. Testing is available for anyone over the age of 18 regardless of symptoms.

Although there was an increase in the overall number of positives this morning, the County continued its steady decline in positive percentages Thursday morning. The 30 positive cases reported on today's 11 a.m. briefing were far outpaced by 1,315 new negative tests. Positive cases now make up 6.8 percent of all those tested and today is the 17th day in a row of a decline in the overall percentage of those tested. The state average is 6.1 percent positive test cases.

Memorial Day updates

Public beaches are expected to be packed for the Memorial Day weekend, but additional code enforcement and Sheriff's Office deputies will patrol the Anna Maria Island to help with crowd control and social distancing reminders.

Beachgoers will have a second Anna Maria Trolley to ride when one is added Saturday for the weekend crowds. The additional trolley will resume daily service seven days 9 a.m. - 6 p.m. daily.

Passengers board and de-board at the rear-door of the trolley. (Passengers with mobility impairments and wheelchair passengers board and de-board using the boarding ramp, at the front door of the trolley). Passengers are encouraged to wear a face mask on the trolley.

Manatee County Parks and Natural Resources will reopen restrooms in all of its natural preserves. Also, the popular tower at Robinson Preserve will reopen tomorrow. All of the latest local government openings are being posted to Reopening Manatee

Free face masks, hand sanitizer event

Free face masks continue to be offered at locations throughout Manatee County. Commissioner Misty Servia will host another face mask giveaway event tomorrow, May 22 from 9 - 10:30 a.m. at the 13th Avenue Dream Center, 922 24th Street E, Bradenton. Commissioner Servia will give out face masks and gel hand sanitizer refills to anyone who brings a small plastic pump or squeeze container, 10 ounces or less.

View the latest on Manatee County's community-wide effort to prevent the spread of COVID-19 by visiting or text ManateeReady to 888-777. For more information on Manatee County Government, visit or call (941) 748-4501. You can also follow us on Facebook at and on Twitter, @ManateeGov.