Councillor Linda Holt, who sits as an independent on Fife Council, said she was alarmed to find AirBnb is still offering 128 rental properties in villages in her East Neuk and Landward constituency despite the government’s warning against non-essential journeys.
Ms Holt said she had been inundated with calls from constituents fearing an increased risk of contracting the Covid-19 virus because of people travelling to Fife. Everyday I am contacted by constituents concerned about the number of holiday homes occupied in the East Neuk. The worry is not just that people travelling will increase the spread of the virus and increase the risk to everyone living here.”
“It’s also that the NHS will be burdened at the worst possible time if any of these visitors fall ill when they are here. I know private individuals with holiday homes, local letting agencies and caravan parks have all closed or are not taking bookings.”
“I was very disappointed to discover on “searching for accommodation in the East Neuk on the Airbnb website for tonight that 128 properties were listed as being available.This is surely against the government’s emergency legislation and sends out completely the wrong message.”
Ms Holt said she had written to AirBnb outlining concerns but had not received a response.
New directives from COSLA issued to Scottish councils on Tuesday state: “All types of holiday accommodation provided as part of a business must cease to operate during the emergency period. Except in certain limited circumstances such as the occupant having no other main residence in the UK or for providing the accommodation for the homeless.”
COSLA’s directive now gives local authority officers the power to issue prohibition notices and, if necessary, submit reports to the Procurator Fiscal if owners are found to be in violation of the closures or failing to ensure social distancing measures are being observed.
Police Scotland has confirmed it will increase the number of patrols in the area during the Easter weekend period and will continue to “engage, explain, encourage and enforce” where necessary.