Airbnb is taking steps to prevent house parties and large gatherings at its properties on New Year’s Eve.
A new policy announced Thursday is banning one-night rentals on December 31 for any guest that doesn’t have a positive review history with the company.
The policy will impact all properties in the United States, Canada, Mexico, Australia, France, and Spain. It expands upon a similar policy instituted for Halloween, which had banned all one-night rentals for that holiday. The New Year’s Eve ban excludes anyone with a positive rental history (note, however, that many Airbnbs hosts have established minimum stays, regardless of a user’s rental history).
“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,” the company said in a statement.
All guests who do have reservations for New Year’s Eve must attest that they will not throw an unauthorized party and acknowledge that they may be pursued legally by Airbnb if they break the rules.
“As New Year’s Eve approaches, we are deploying more stringent restrictions on one- and two-night reservations that may pose heightened risk for parties,” the company said.
Airbnb is providing guidance to hosts to help reduce the risk of parties and large gatherings by proactively communicating the rules to guests.
The company is also operating a virtual command center to get ahead of any potential issues, along with training safety agents who will be on call on New Year’s Eve.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is strongly discouraging parties and gatherings as coronavirus cases and deaths are skyrocketing.
“The more people an individual interacts with at a gathering and the longer that interaction lasts, the higher the potential risk of becoming infected with COVID-19 and COVID-19 spreading,” the CDC says in its policy on events and gatherings.
Airbnb will honor reservations by guests who have already booked one-night stays on New Year’s Eve.
“Our data has historically shown that one-night New Year’s Eve bookings made prior to now very rarely lead to unauthorized parties,” the company said.
The New Year’s Eve announcement is the latest move by Airbnb during the coronavirus pandemic. In August, it instituted a global party ban and capped occupancy at all listings at 16 people.
The company has also added enhanced cleaning protocols and added a special program for frontline workers and healthcare workers in need of places to stay. See what listings are available for your travel dates at Airbnb.com, and for more headlines, see all our travel news here.