Newport Beach may prohibit short term rentals during the extent of the local emergency due to the Coronavirus with exceptions for medical workers and emergency responders.

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Several cities across the U.S. have already taken such action, Councilwoman Diane Dixon told the Voice of OC in a text message.

The ordinance is intended to slow the spread of the virus.

“In this environment, continuous turnover of renters in (short term lodging) units creates a risk that COVID-19 will spread throughout the city, especially given the high number of (short term lodging) units and the dense residential neighborhoods where they are located,” reads the staff report.

There are 1,536 active short term rental permits in the city and there are 60 confirmed cases of Coronavirus in Newport Beach.

If the ordinance is adopted, any person currently renting a short term lodging unit will have until April 10 to leave. All short term rental activity would be stopped with an exception made to rent out short term rentals to medical professionals and emergency professionals brought in to help out during the pandemic.

Only property owners who have short term rental permits would be able to do so. New permits would not be issued.

The ordinance will be voted on at a special meeting today at 4 p.m.

Newport Beach has been wrestling with the idea of tightening its grip on short term rentals before issuing a proclamation. Other cities in the county have banned or have implemented strict regulations on short term rentals.

Newport preliminarily approved an ordinance that would cap the number of permits they issue at 1,600 and restrict short term rentals to the coastal zone by 2030.

Following the ordinance’s preliminary approval, lawyer Melinda Luthin, who represents concerned short-term rental owners, sent a letter to the city council stating that a second reading of the ordinance would be invalid due to the inclusion of the permit location restriction which she categorized as a zoning issue.

The final vote was postponed and the committee that initially looked at the restrictions was re-established. The committee is required to present a revised ordinance for council consideration before June 31, 2021.

Blake Huntley contributed to this article.

Hosam Elattar is a Voice of OC news intern. Contact him or on Twitter @ElattarHosam.

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