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Airbnb is taking new steps to stop customers from using rented homes as party pads on New Year’s Eve and spreading COVID.
The company on Thursday implemented a two-night minimum for guests who lack positive reviews and who want to rent an entire home on that evening.
The home-rental service said the new restriction will apply to rentals in the U.S., U.K., Canada, Mexico, Australia, France, and Spain. Reservations that have already been booked for just New Year’s Eve, regardless of user reviews, will be honored.
Users with positive reviews will not be subject to the new rule.
“This plan marks the latest of a number of recent changes to our platform to meet this specific public health moment, prioritize safe and responsible travel, and do our part to try and stop large gatherings that can spread this virus,” a blog post from Airbnb reads.
The news comes as Airbnb grapples with the problem of customers renting homes for unauthorized parties, some of which have become violent. Last year, a Halloween party in Orinda, Calif., ended with a shooting that killed five people and injured four others. In August this year, three people were shot at an unauthorized party in Sacramento.
Airbnb has also created new cleaning standards to prevent the spread of the coronavirus.
Airbnb is trying to show that it has safety under control following filing for its initial public offering last month. The company’s stock could be adversely affected by any safety issues once it begins trading.
As part of its effort to prevent parties on New Year’s Eve, Airbnb said it will have safety agents on call throughout the night to provide immediate assistance to hosts or guests with concerns. In addition, all guests who successfully book rentals for New Year’s Eve will be required to agree not to throw unauthorized parties and to acknowledge that they could be sued for violating the agreement.
Airbnb said it also will provide additional guidance to hosts to help them reduce the likelihood that a guest will throw an unauthorized party. It’s advising hosts to update their house rules and proactively communicate them to their guests.
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