A St. Catharines city councillor wants to find out from Airbnb if there’s anything it can do to stop residents from COVID-19 hot zones from booking stays in city neighbourhoods.
Grantham Coun. Dawn Dodge brought up the issue at Monday night’s council meeting after receiving a call from a concerned resident on the weekend whose neighbour was operating a short-term rental.
“The little three-bedroom bungalow beside them had 13 residents and they were from the red zone,” Dodge told Mayor Walter Sendzik.
“I’m just wondering if there’s some way that we can have you can contact Airbnb and stop people from any of the areas that are on lockdown from coming down here and renting the short-term rentals.”
Sendzik said staff would reach out to Niagara Region Public Health on Tuesday to work on it.
“We can see if there’s a way to get in touch with Airbnb to provide some kind of clarifications around what’s happening when people are booking in our community from areas identified as a lockdown,” he said.
The Niagara region is holding steady with new COVID-19 cases and remains in the province’s “orange-restrict” level of its pandemic response framework. The level is the third highest, out of five, and means there are enhanced restrictions and enforcement in the region without closures.