UPDATE: While Star Motel's account with Toho Water Authority continues to be delinquent, Toho reinstated water and sewer service temporarily on March 14 through March 31. They decided to do this because of the current State of Emergency in regards to coronavirus. Toho Water Authority said this is subject to change at Toho’s discretion.

KISSIMMEE, Fla. — A motel in Kissimmee with no running water for more than two weeks is sparking some concern among tenants when it comes to coronavirus, as hundreds of residents struggle to stay clean.

Star Motel has about 300 people renting out rooms, living there long-term. A lot of them had been flushing their toilets with water from the pool, because they had no running water.

The property manager for Star Motel Teena Conley showed Spectrum News 13 all the payments she’s made since late February to Toho Water Authority, but they still owe $6,332.90.

Conley said the only defense they have against the coronavirus is washing their hands, but they can’t do so.

“Well right now we have people running around with a stomach virus because of the simple fact that we can’t wash our hands,” Conley explained. “This is one of the last bottles of Purell in this place. Someone gave this to me as a gift.”

Toho Water Authority sent Spectrum News 13 this statement about the issue, which, in part, read:

"Because the owner, the utility account holder, and representatives of the Star Motel failed to pay the utility bills, broke payment arrangements, and refused to enter further payment arrangements, utility service was disconnected Feb. 26.  The hotel remains delinquent by more than $6,000 and that past due balance is still owed and additional payments for utility services rendered will also become due soon.

However, we recognize that the people residing at the hotel have been living in sub-par conditions. Because of the escalating coronavirus (COVID-19) threat, and the need for the community to take mitigation measures, we have reconnected services on a temporary basis. 

Barring payment of the outstanding utility bills, this reconnection is temporary and a direct result of our response to the COVID-19 emergency. Therefore, we encourage anyone living at the Star Motel to seek another place to live and to work with social service agencies, if needed, during this temporary period of reconnection."