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Cleaning Our Vacation Rentals During Covid-19

Curious about what we are doing about the coronavirus that causes Covid-19? We realize that cleanliness is top of mind for many of you right now.  Accordingly, we are now following enhanced cleaning protocols through our use of professional cleaning companies who use EPA-approved products, follow CDC-recommendations to protect the safety of guests and all of our service partners. In addition these professionals give extra attention to high-touch surfaces and end the cleaning with a sanitization spray process that helps wrap around surfaces that normal cleaning will not reach.

We use accurate, reputable sources of information and have a proactive plan to manage and minimize the risks associated with the virus that causes Covid-19.

It is worth noting that there are a lot of suggestions floating around out there around how to make places safe from Covid-19.  For example, based on how we think the virus can last on a variety of surfaces and how long it can linger in the air, some have suggested certain waiting periods before cleaners enter a property and before new guests arrive.  However, it is important to understand that while waiting periods between stays or cleaner entries could help minimize likelihood of contamination, it does not replace enhanced cleaning processes. As such, we do not anticipate maintaining a specific waiting period in-between guests unless required to do so. 

So what are we doing, specifically?

  1. To begin with, we are consulting Covid-19 guidelines provided jointly by the Vacation Rental Managers Association (VRMA) and the Vacation Rental Housekeeping Association (VRHP). You can find these here
  1. We are following the Pinellas County Safety Plan approved by the Florida Department of Business and Professional Regulation (DBPR).
  1. We are providing written copies of CDC sanitation guidance and resources in the rental home.
  1. We are providing written copies of CDC resources, including “What you should know about Covid-19 to protect yourself and others” and “Prevent the spread of Covid-19 if you are sick” in the rental home.
  1. We use remote check-in and check-out procedures to minimize contact with property owners and managers
  1. Contractors working in our rental homes have been provided CDC related safety guidance to avoid the transmission of the virus and provide further protection of workers and guests.
  1. Utilize this enhanced checklist when cleaning.
  1. Following the Florida DBPR Information for Vacation Rentals pursuant to Executive Order 20-123 issued May 15, 2020

Note: These recommendations include training regarding proper and safe cleaning techniques and proper security.  While the guidelines are derived in part from federal agency regulations and recommendations, they do not ensure the health of us, our housekeepers or our guests.  They do, however, provide steps that can be used to augment existing cleaning processes to help mitigate the spread of Covid-19. 

Cleaning for you!

Cleaning and disinfection equipment

Our cleaning professionals clean their tools and personal protective equipment to minimize the risk of contamination.  Cleaning products used are in good condition and appropriate for the property.  Safety equipment is utilized where needed

Cleaning and sanitization (not disinfection) process

Cleaning is our first step in the overall process.  It utilizes soaps (or detergents) and water to remove germs, dirt, and impurities from surfaces.  This process doesn’t necessarily kill germs but instead reduces their numbers and therefore the risk of spreading.

Disinfection is the process of killing germs on surfaces or objects through the use of chemicals.  Disinfection is not a cleaning process, but because it kills germs it too can lower the risk of spreading the virus.  We use EPA-registered household disinfectants.

Sanitizing lowers the number of germs on surfaces or objects. 

We prioritize high-touch surfaces like door handles, locks, thermostats, controls and switches, remote controls, bathroom fixtures, high touch guest information.

Linens are washed at highest temperatures and dried completely before storing.

While we use both cleaning (soaps/detergents and water) and chemicals to on surfaces and objects in our homes, we make no representation that we have killed 100% of germs or the virus that causes Covid-19. 

Spray sanitization treatment at the end – Vital Oxide

If you start to think about it, you can drive yourself nuts listing out all the difficult-to-clean components of a vacation rental home. Rugs? Drapes? Sofas? Is it possible to wash every item like this in a home between each and every guest? Despite our best intentions, not always. 

Enter the Vital Oxide sanitization treatment. Follow these links to learn more about the product and equipment we use in Florida.

Link to Curtis Dyna Fog ES:

http://www.dynafog.com/products/sanitation-and-greenhouse/hurricane-es/

Vital Oxide Product Link:

https://vitaloxide.com/

FAQ’S for Vital Oxide:

https://vitaloxide.com/pages/q-a

Why we use an Electrostatic Sprayer/ Fogger:

We use this science to apply disinfectants. Electrostatic application of chemicals dramatically increases droplet attraction and attachment to surfaces. In fact, research indicates that electrostatic application is 8 times more effective than using an uncharged sprayer.

How does electrostatic disinfection work?

Electrostatic disinfection is a quick and easy way to achieve 360 degree, touch-less disinfection. While it may sound complicated, the technology is simple to understand. Electrostatic sprayers use positive and negative charges to make disinfecting solutions electromagnetically stick to targeted surfaces. For example, no matter which angle you disinfect a surface from, the charge created by the electrostatic sprayer makes the disinfectant wrap around and cling to the entire surface.

The kill time is about two minutes for bacteria and under two minutes for viruses. Best of all, no wiping is required with electrostatic spraying as it is with other procedures, and it’s safe for all surfaces including electronic equipment.

Craft Kafe – Gluten-Free Goodness

Have you ever had two different people tell you that you should meet someone, and then you met that someone in a totally random situation?

That happened to me in early December, and that’s how I came to learn about Craft Kafe.  The someone (Keith) turned out to be an invaluable source of food recommendations, second only to my friend (and sometimes-guest) Rita. 

So far Keith is batting 1000. 

I can just feel the microfoam on my tongue

Still, I’m sort of surprised that I didn’t just sense somehow that Craft Kafe existed.  It is the sort of place I pine for when I’m not in New Zealand. Which is 11 months out of the year. 

Craft Kafe just has “it”.  And you can tell by the loyal patrons showing up again and again.

How to choose, how to choose

It’s an easy shot from Gulfport (just head up 58th St and hang a left on Central) or from Treasure Island (head down Gulf Blvd to Central, hang a left and head to 6653 Central Avenue.

Everything we’ve had was delicious.  Check out the our pics and their website for ideas.

Raspberry turnover
Crafty cups

Oh and super bonus for some of you? It’s gluten-free.

http://www.craftkafe.com/

Two locations: downtown and the one on Central Ave.  The Central Ave will be more convenient to Treasure Island, St Pete Beach and Gulfport guests.

Impossible to resist display case
Quiche

The Story of Two People and a House

I (Beth) and not an impulsive person. Except when it comes to kittens/cats,key lime pie and chocolate. And—apparently—New Zealand and the Marlborough Sounds. Because we bought this home without ever seeing it in person.

We’d never been to St. Omer, either. Google wasn’t much help—St. Omer, France was clearly a place. But St. Omer, NZ?

Unconfirmed.

You get a bit of a flat spot, then up you go! Keep that foot on the gas!

Were we crazy to buy a home we’d never seen—an off-the-grid home, no less!—in a place we’d never been to, that even Google didn’t know much about, and that could only be reached after a 2-day journey of 7,000 miles?

Probably crazy, yes. But in the end, we decided based on a feeling—and an image of sitting there on the porch, looking out over St. Omer Bay. I wanted to be there that very minute.

But I couldn’t be there that very minute, unfortunately. In fact, it would be two years – two years! – before we set foot in our new home.

I’ll be honest. When my partner Terry and I finally got there, scaling the steep, rocky driveway in an overstuffed SUV (more on that driveway later), my first thought was “We made a mistake.”

This was not a place would you could just pop in to check things out. It was OUT THERE. I felt I had no business owning a home that far away.

The payoff

But an hour later, after we’d opened the doors and windows, breathed deeply, sat in the quiet, and explored the grounds, I realized not only did I love it, I didn’t want to leave.

Ever.

Then there’s the community, who welcomed us immediately. Everyone has a role here. Soon we met mussel farmers, local goats and birds, and the sparky (that’s Kiwi for “electrician”) who took care of our generator and brought us a dozen local eggs.

We were home.

Now it’s your turn!

Terry making friends with the locals

The perils of buying bottled water

Waste caused by bottled water is a huge problem and growing. We try to do our part with our rentals and eliminate as much waste as much as possible. One huge component of our landfills and oceans are plastic water bottles. See the story about the GPGB – That’s the “Great Pacific Garbage Patch” here. It’s horrifying that this problem and this particular accumulation has its own acronym!!!

If you do buy them, please recycle. For Gulfport rentals, if your house has a rectangular blue bin, you may place plastic bottles in there and they will be recycled. Do not place them in the green bin. If there is no blue plastic bin in the trash area at your rental home, you can take them to the recycling center located at the 49th Street Neighborhood Center at 1617 49th St S in Gulfport.

For Treasure Island rentals, please take them to Rosselli Park, Isle of Capri, located at Capri Circle S at Second St SE, Treasure Island.

We can make a difference!

Beth

St Petersburg Drinking Water