After a closure that felt like an eternity (aka two beautiful, spring months), the Outer Banks is reopening its doors to all visitors starting May 16, 2020.
While the entire country has been taking unprecedented measures to flatten the COVID-19 curve, there’s no question that the virus is still running rampant. This raises plenty of questions and concerns around safety, cleaning, and sanitizing for the upcoming busy rental season here on the Outer Banks.
You might be wondering...
In these uncharted waters, it’s more important than ever to work together to promote safety and mitigate the spread of the virus. Let’s all make safety our number one priority this season, so everyone can enjoy the peace of mind that draws thousands of people to these shores year after year.
Here’s an inside look into some unique methods that OBX rental agencies and owners are using to up their cleaning and disinfecting standards.
Property managers of the Victoria Place Penthouse, Tori and Rex Peters, are committed to going above and beyond with cleaning and sanitizing during these times. “Good enough is the enemy of excellence,” is the motto that fuels their day-to-day roles as rental managers during the pandemic.
The Victoria Place team will utilize a remote control 38W Ultraviolet UV-C Light Sterilizer & Disinfecting Germicidal Lamp to sterilize each room between visits without the use of chemicals, setting this rental apart from most. The lamp is known to help eliminate 99 percent of bacteria, viruses, molds, and allergens on furniture and other items within 100 to 270 square feet of the lamp. The CDC states that, of any ultraviolet light, UV-C waves provide the most effective defense against germs. The property will also get plenty of airflow between each visit, especially since the lamp requires one hour of ventilation after each use.
Tori and Rex will also utilize UV-C lights for the air handlers in the Victoria Place Penthouse. These lights are often used in hospital air handlers due to their ability to eliminate viruses and bacteria that could otherwise be recirculated within the HVAC system. In addition to viruses and bacteria, they reduce and control mold buildup, improving the overall air quality in each room.
The Victoria Place staff has identified 155 high-touch spots in the 3-bed, 3-bath condo that will be scrubbed head to toe with antibacterial soap and water between each visiting party. On top of that, the same detailed cleaning will also be applied to outdoor furniture.
All pillows will have double-lined case protectors, and all linens will be stripped and cleaned with commercial-grade products and high heat between each visit. The Victoria Place staff is so detail oriented that they even focus on pillow placing, ensuring that any pillow case openings are turned away from doorways, which is a standard procedure in hospitals. All throw pillows and blankets and any non-essential high-touch objects have been removed from the property to limit unnecessary contact.
It’s clear that Tori and Rex and the Victoria Place cleaning crew have always been committed to putting their customers’ safety and satisfaction first, which is why they didn’t hesitate to refund rental fees in March and April when the Outer Banks restricted access to visitors. Now that the doors are reopening, their research and out-of-the-box thinking allow them to give you the peace of mind that we’re all craving these days. As Tori would say, “Stay safe, not fearful!”
In non-virus-related news, the Corolla Village Inn turned one year old this week!
As the staff celebrates the one-year anniversary, they’ve also been hyperfocused on drawing up a cleaning and safety game plan as they prepare to welcome back guests. The Inn will be using an antiviral cleaning chemical called TB-QUAT on all surfaces and high-touch areas, including outdoor furniture. TB-QUAT is an EPA-approved disinfectant against COVID-19, and it has demonstrated success fighting similar viruses in the past.
The Corolla Village Inn team is committed to higher frequency cleaning of all common areas. In line with CDC suggestions, all linens, dishes, cutlery, and glasses will be cleaned with bleach, and all staff members will wear gloves and masks while cleaning. Non-essential high-touch items like pens, notebooks, directories, and decorative pillows have been removed from the rooms.
The Inn staff stresses the importance of working together during this time. While they are doing everything they can to promote guest safety and security, they ask that you as guests do the same. Suggested efforts include stripping your own beds, and placing bedding and towels in the provided linen bags to help protect the housekeeping staff; to allow for no-contact check-ins, they ask that you email a copy of your photo ID before arrival.
These combined efforts will promote safety in hopes that everyone can have the chance to experience Corolla Village’s unique history -- and celebrate one year of the charming Corolla Village Inn.
Doug Brindley, Owner and President of Brindley Beach Vacations & Sales, understands the importance of safety and security when choosing a vacation rental, especially during the COVID-19 pandemic. He says, “With increasing awareness on cleanliness, you need to know that you and your family are safe while enjoying a vacation home on the Outer Banks.”
Executive housekeeper, James Skinner, adds: “For years, I have personally made sure that we follow CDC guidelines and have always used only EPA-approved products. To ensure these high standards, we hire our own cleaning staff… no contractors. All our housekeepers and inspectors are certified by Vacation Rental Housekeeping Professionals (a subsidiary of the Vacation Rental Management Association.”
Brindley Beach has implemented a new COVID-19 disinfecting program that follows recommendations from the CDC, EPA, and World Health Organization. This includes using EPA-approved solutions to clean all high-touch points, upholstery, and carpeting throughout its 600+ rental properties.
All linens and towels will still be provided and washed following CDC guidelines. Pillows will be double-cased, but Brindley Beach strongly suggests bringing your own additional comforters, and blankets.
Brindley Beach puts the health and safety of its staff, guests, owners, and the community at the forefront of their efforts.
Duck’s Sanderling Resort is implementing a 48-hour protocol to ensure that guest rooms and vacation homes are completely unoccupied for at least 48 hours between guests. They’ve invested in new spraying equipment to sanitize “what you see and don’t see,” with increased focus on high-touch objects and areas, of course.
On top of that, between each reservation, all air filters will be replaced and pre-packaged amenities will be replenished. Additional amenities are always available for delivery upon request. However, in-stay housekeeping and turndown are suspended throughout the summer season to limit the number of people inside each space and promote social distancing.
For those of you booking a beautiful OBX rental through Airbnb, rest assured that the agency has released an extensive cleaning guide and high-touch object checklist for all hosts and guests to review. It outlines common high-touch objects and step-by-step cleaning and disinfecting best practices based on CDC and EPA recommendations.
As always, you can reach out to your Airbnb host for specific questions and concerns.
It’s clear that Outer Banks rental hosts are making safety a top priority this season. To enhance these measures, we encourage you to promote safety alongside these dedicated staff members by considering the following suggestions:
Consider bringing some of your own supplies to enhance protection and preparedness. For example, it’s a good idea to bring these supplies due to the recent high demand:
If you have additional concerns, don’t hesitate to reach out to your host. Wishing you a safe and relaxing stay in the beautiful Outer Banks this season and always!