AP Photo/Eric Risberg
Airbnb has announced it is banning all parties at its listings around the world and capping occupancy at 16 people in response to the global health crisis and public nuisance complaints.
The home-sharing platform warned that it would legally pursue any guests who violate the new policy.
Airbnb has always prohibited unauthorised parties at its listing and 73 per cent of the 7 million accommodations on offer on the platform have already banned large gatherings in their House Rules.
But despite that, parties held in Airbnb accommodations have grabbed headlines around the world.
Last November, CEO Brian Chesky announced that they were “redoubling” their efforts to combat unauthorised parties following a deadly shooting during a party at a rented house in Orinda, California, in which five people were killed.
Among the measures it put has since put in place is a 24/7 neighbourhood support hotline for US and Canada as well as restrictions on allowing guests under the age of 25 without a history of positive reviews to book entire homes near their home address.
When the pandemic was declared and social distancing was imposed around the world as a means to stem the spread of SARS-CoV-2 — the virus that causes COVID-19 — Airbnb removed the “event-friendly” and “parties and events allowed” search filters from its platform.
“However, in many large jurisdictions, public health mandates on gatherings have changed — in some places swung back and forth in response to the changing rates of COVID cases — as have regulations on bars, clubs and pubs,” the company said in a statement.
“Some have chosen to take bar and club behaviour to homes, sometimes rented through our platform. We think such conduct is incredibly irresponsible — we do not want that type of business, and anyone engaged in or allowing that behaviour does not belong on our platform.
“Based on these developments, instituting a global ban on parties and events is in the best interest of public health,” it added.
Although most lockdown measures have been lifted across the world, bars and clubs continue to have restrictions while public and private gathering remain limited.
Italy and Spain — two major European touristic destinations — have both recently shut down dance venues again following an uptick in COVID-19 cases. In Belgium, police are authorised to enter private homes to interrupt parties.
The Greek Civil Protection agency announced on Thursday that all parties, processions and markets were suspended until further notice in the northern region of Halkidiki and on the island of Mykonos.
The mayor of Los Angeles, Eric Garcetti, enabled authorities on August 5 to cut off utilities in houses that host parties.
“With more than 2,000 Angelenos — and over 170,000 Americans — lost to COVID-19, we need every resident to undertake critical safeguards to stop the spread of this virus. That includes not hosting or attending parties that put themselves, their neighbours, and many others at risk,” he said in a statement on Wednesday after utilities were shutoff to stop a party in the Hollywood Hills.