By Randy Arrington
LURAY, March 31 — The “Cabin Capital” of Virginia is currently not open for business.
On Tuesday, Page County issued an amendment to its resolution for a “Declaration of a Local Emergency” that shuts down all short-term rentals.
According to the amendment, the measure prohibits the rental of “a hotel room, motel room, rental housing unit, condominium, RV campsite, primitive campsite, rental cabin or similar accommodations for less than 30 consecutive days.”
The new mandate allows exemptions for “contractors, medical personnel and employees performing essential services within Page County.”
The amendment goes on to state that “current guests in a hotel, motel, vacation rental or other short-term rental housing unit may remain in their occupied quarters for the duration of their rental agreement.”
The amendment is aimed at preventing the spread of the coronavirus and COVID-19 in the Page Valley — especially from those who may be fleeing the spread of the virus in “hot spots” further north and elsewhere.
“Page County has been overflowing with travelers escaping the virus and exposing our citizens,” County Administrator Amity Moler said Wednesday.
Moler, who also serves as the county’s Director of Emergency Management, issued the original “Declaration of a Local Emergency” on March 17. Since then, the Virginia Department of Health has reported the first case of COVID-19 in Page County.
The county administrator acknowledged the additional burden this measure could put on some in the local workforce.
“We recognize many employees have experienced layoffs or reduced hours of work due to COVID-19 and hated to potentially put more in that situation with the restrictions,” Moler said. “But we felt it was the best decision for the health and safety of our residents at this time.”
Moler noted that the Governor’s recent orders only limited stays at privately-owned campgrounds for stays less than 14 nights.
“Page County’s [declaration] is far more restrictive,” Moler said.
The new, more restrictive declaration for Page County went into effect Wednesday, April 1. It will last “until such time as the state of emergency in the Commonwealth of Virginia is lifted or until such other further notice.”
The declaration also enables the county to apply for any future aid from the state, much like the state’s declaration opens up federal funds and resources.