Travel

Airbnb Extends Party Ban Through Summer

The home-sharing platform first introduced a global ban on parties in August 2020 amid the COVID-19 pandemic

NBC Universal, Inc.

While Mayor Bill de Blasio has exuberantly declared 2021 to be the "summer of New York City" as the five boroughs surge forward in their post-pandemic recovery, some favorite elements of the year's hottest season won't return for this one.

Airbnb announced Thursday it will extend its party ban at least through the end of this summer as the U.S. looks to further drive down COVID rates via vaccination.

The home-sharing platform first introduced its global pan on parties in August 2020. At the time, the company said the ban would remain in place "indefinitely until further notice." Airbnb says its hosts have supported the policy and most of them now already prohibit parties in their homes. The ban will continue.

"At the time of the August 2020 policy change, COVID-19 cases were spiking, and vaccines were not yet approved. As we said then and still believe now, this indefinite ban was in the best interest of public health," Airbnb said in a statement Thursday.

The public health element isn't the only continuous driver, Airbnb says -- it wants to be "really good community players all over the world." Hosts wanted clarity for the upcoming season and Thursday's announcement gives them that, Airbnb says.

The company pledged to provide another update on its party ban at summer's end.

Short-term rental expert Pam Knudsen, the director of compliance at Avalara MyLodgeTax, discusses what Airbnb renters should be aware of as the country slowly emerges from the pandemic, including new and improved cleaning protocols.

Additional measures implemented along with the initial ban like removing the "event-friendly" search filter and any "parties and events allowed" house rules in listings will also remain inaccessible through at least the end of this summer.

Guests with no history of positive Airbnb reviews will also be prohibited from making one-night reservations in entire U.S. home listings during July 4 weekend.

Airbnb urges neighbors to use its Neighborhood Support Line to report disruptive parties directly. Like many companies, it has struggled during the pandemic but hopes for an imminent revival as more people start to travel again.

Earlier this month, Airbnb reported that its first-quarter loss more than tripled, to $1.17 billion, as travel remained depressed and the company was weighed down by costs from past borrowing. That said, revenue topped the same period in 2019, and Airbnb recorded billions in new bookings as the rollout of vaccines against COVID-19 raised hopes for a travel boom.

The home-sharing business said in a letter to shareholders that travel is starting to return, “and we expect a travel rebound unlike anything we have seen before.”

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