I am contacting you to provide an update on our actions related to the COVID-19 outbreak.
From today, it will not be possible to book a stay on Airbnb in the United Kingdom during the current lockdown period.
During this crisis, our priority is to protect public health. We have been working around the clock to keep hosts and guests informed about the latest rules and guidance from governments. Last week, we blocked private room bookings and temporarily switched off the 'instant book' feature for entire home properties across the UK. Since then we have been working on further changes including today’s announcement.
We have heard from policymakers, and local residents who are worried about incoming visitors and the impact on the health of your communities. The vast majority of hosts and guests on Airbnb are adhering to the government’s rules to contain the spread of COVID-19. But in these difficult times, we recognise our responsibility is to do all we can to prioritise the safety of all. This principle guides these further steps we are taking today.
From today, it will not be possible to book a stay in the United Kingdom that starts on or before 18 April 2020 in line with government regulations. We will continue to review these measures after that date.
We have also emailed all guests with existing bookings, reiterating government guidance and telling them not to travel unless it is essential. Guests with bookings made before March 14 that fall between March 14 and May 31 are able to claim a full refund through our cancellation policy. If you raise concerns with us about hosts in your community suspected of breaching the current emergency regulations, we will confirm with hosts that the stay fits an essential purpose.
Bookings made as part of the Frontline Stays programme - free stays for NHS and other medical staff and paid or subsidised stays for other essential stays and key workers will not be affected by these changes. More than 12,000 hosts in the UK have opted in to provide accommodation for the Frontline Stays programme.
There is no place on Airbnb for listing titles that could be interpreted as exploiting the pandemic, such as marketing around escaping COVID-19. As such, we are prohibiting listing titles that reference “COVID,” “coronavirus,” or “quarantine” moving forward. This guidance has been communicated to hosts, and the majority have already made corrections.
We want to do our part to keep everyone safe. Please do not hesitate to contact us should you have any questions.