Short-Term Rentals

COVID19 Prevention Checklist Industry Guidance

Last updated: Mar 5, 2021

The State of Maine has adopted a staged approach, supported by science, public health expertise, and industry collaboration, to allow Maine businesses to safely open when the time is right. The plan is available at

This is one of many industry guidance documents the State is preparing for businesses so they can be prepared to meet health guidelines and reopen safely. Please make sure you pair this document with the general guidance document that applies to all industries, which is available on

Please note: This document may be updated as additional information and resources become available. 

Short-Term Rentals

Short-term rentals are properties that are rented for periods typically under 30 days, including those arranged through online hosting platforms such as Airbnb and VRBO. These lodging facilities are typically unstaffed. Other lodgings including hotels, motels, inns, and bed and breakfast accommodations—which are typically staffed and include common areas and amenities where guests from different parties may interact—should refer to the checklist for Lodging.

General Guidance

  1. Require all employees/hosts, vendors, and guests to maintain 6 feet of physical distance from individuals who are not part of their household group whenever possible.
  2. Require all employees/hosts, vendors, and guests to wear a face covering when physical distancing is difficult to maintain, per CDC recommendations and pertinent Executive Orders from the Office of the Governor.
    1. Additional information about proper use of face coverings is available from the CDC (see: Use of Cloth Face Coverings to Help Slow the Spread of COVID-19).
  3. The number of individuals that can gather in a shared space must not exceed the limit established by the Governor’s Executive Order. (Updated 10/6/20)
    1. If a space cannot accommodate the gathering limit without complying with the six-foot distancing requirement, occupancy must be limited to allow for such compliance.
  4. Indoor gathering limits as further established by the Governor's Executive Order are subject to the following limits: (Updated 3/5/21)
    1. Effective March 26, 2021 through May 23, 2021: 50% of permitted occupancy or 50 persons, whichever is greater.
    2. Effective May 24, 2021 and thereafter: 75% of permitted occupancy or 50 persons, whichever is greater.


  1. Visitors from outside Maine must follow the Keep Maine Healthy plan.
    1. Establishments must collect a Certificate of Compliance form (on paper or electronically) as a prerequisite to check-in from people who are not residents of Maine or states exempted from testing and quarantine requirements, indicating they have received a negative COVID-19 test result, that they will quarantine in Maine for 10 days, or that they have already completed their quarantine in Maine. Establishments should keep these records for 30 days. (Updated 1/25/21)
  2. Call-ahead or online reservations are required.
  3. Inform guests of your COVID policies and procedures in advance, if possible, through your reservation booking system or other means.
  4. It is strongly recommended that establishments remind guests that if they are ill (e.g. have a fever or cough) they should not visit.

Operational Considerations

  1. Property managers, timeshare operators, and other rental unit owners and operators should only rent unoccupied units and not rent rooms or spaces within an occupied residence. A residence or unit that is rented while the operator is not physically present, or has a separate exterior entrance and exit that does not require the use of shared facilities, and is otherwise unoccupied, should be considered an unoccupied unit. It can be very difficult to maintain proper cleaning and disinfecting protocols when residents, tenants, and guests from different households share common items like kitchen appliances, laundry facilities, etc. Shared, temporary housing also presents challenges with physical distancing to prevent the spread of COVID-19.
  2. Implement physical distancing policies during check-in and check-out, and during any interactions with guests.
  3. Support good hand hygiene for guests and anyone involved with the property by providing sufficient hand sanitizer and soap products at property entry points and key areas, and also encouraging handwashing regularly with water and soap for at least 20 seconds.
  4. Minimize shared touch surfaces such as pens, credit cards, receipts and keys.
  5. Minimize non-essential interactions at the property to the extent practicable:
    1. Consider developing a self check-in system using a key lockbox, smart lock with a keypad, or app. Be sure to clean and disinfect the lock/keypad between each stay.
    2. Service requests should be considered with regard for the safety of maintenance providers and guests. To limit exposure, defer nonessential maintenance while the rental unit is occupied and handle only emergency or urgent issues where possible.
  6. Following each departure, guest rooms will be left vacant for at least 4 hours to allow for deep cleaning, disinfectant and cleaners to dry, and reasonable air exchange. Consider ways to maximize airflow, if practical, to increase fresh air circulation (e.g. opening windows or doors).
  7. If possible, implement standard check-in and checkout times, and avoid early arrivals or late departures to minimize the possibility of disrupting enhanced cleaning procedures between guest stays. Consider avoiding back-to-back stays.
  8. Practice enhanced room sanitation by cleaning and disinfecting all hard services between guest stays, as well as laundering linens, bedspreads, and covers (see the Cleaning and Disinfection section of this checklist for additional information).
  9. Kitchen items, including pots, pans, and utensils, must be cleaned between each guest stay. Consider replacing utensils with one-time use dinnerware, if feasible.
  10. Note that areas of cleaning focus include:
    1. Door and drawer handles
    2. Light and other power switches
    3. Shared tools
    4. Chairs, tables, and benches
    5. Television remotes
    6. Refrigerators, microwave, and other frequently touched objects and surfaces in service areas.
    7. Time clocks
    8. Entry way
    9. Cash register, including touch screens, keyboards, mouse
    10. PIN Pads (touch screen, keypad, and pen).
    11. Restrooms
      1. Toilet bowl, toilet paper holder, and flush lever.
      2. Sinks and faucets.
      3. Shower doors and faucets.
      4. Paper towel holders and/or air dryers.
      5. Diaper-changing stations.
  11. De-clutter paper amenities in guest areas. Remove pens, paper, guest directory, magazines, and brochures; supplement with digital or single use items.
  12. For contact tracing purposes, establishments should maintain a record including contact information for guests and staff and/or hosts who have direct prolonged interaction.
    1. Based on current knowledge, a close contact is someone who was within 6 feet of an infected person for at least 15 minutes starting from 48 hours before illness onset until the time the patient is isolated. Close contacts should stay home, maintain social distancing, and self-monitor until 14 days from the last date of exposure.
  13. In the event of a presumptive case of COVID-19, the guest’s accommodations should be removed from service. The guest accommodations should not be returned to service until case has been confirmed or cleared. In the event of a positive case, the room should only be returned to service after undergoing an enhanced sanitization protocol in accordance with CDC guidelines.


  1. Promote “Contactless” payment options (e.g., online payments, pay by phone options, RFID credit and debit cards, Apple Pay, Google Pay, etc.).
  2. Wash hands or use alcohol based hand sanitizer (at least 60% alcohol) after handling cash.

Cleaning and Disinfection

  1. Refer to the following documents for guidance on general cleaning and disinfection:
    1. COVID-19 Prevention Checklist General Guidance (State of Maine)
    2. Cleaning and Disinfecting Your Facility (CDC)
    3. Guidance for Cleaning and Disinfecting Public Spaces, Workplaces, Businesses, Schools and Homes (CDC)
  2. If using an external or professional cleaning company, communicate expectations and plans for cleaning and disinfection standards and get periodic confirmation that they are being followed.

Swimming Pools and Hot Tubs

  1. Keep swimming pools properly cleaned and disinfected. Proper operation, maintenance, and disinfection (with chlorine or bromine) of swimming pools should kill the virus that causes COVID-19.
  2. Common touch surfaces such as hand rails, ladders, diving platforms, lounge chairs and other furniture, and pool equipment should be cleaned and disinfected between guest stays.
  3. Hot tubs and spas should be cleaned and disinfected between guest stays.

COVID-19 Prevention Form

In order to open, businesses must commit to complying with requirements of these checklists by filling out this short online form. Please note that religious organizations and licensed health care providers are not required to use this form.

If you have questions, please contact us at or 1-800-872-3838.