With COVID-19 numbers dropping across the country, Airbnb is updating its policies put in place during the heart of the pandemic.
The main change is coming in the extenuating circumstances policy to cover both guests and hosts that contracted the virus. For the past 2 years, guests could cancel and receive a full refund, and hosts could cancel upcoming reservations penalty-free.
“As a result of this new way of living, beginning May 31, we are updating our extenuating circumstances policy to no longer cover COVID-19 related circumstances as a reason for refund for bookings made on or after this date,” the company said in a statement.
Airbnb officials noted that many companies in the travel industry have ended similar programs months ago.
“After consultation with our medical advisors, as well as our community, we feel the time is now right to take the same step,” the company said.
It also noted that about two-thirds of its hosts offer moderate or flexible cancellation policies that include full refunds for cancellations made 5 days prior — and in some cases, 24 hours prior to check-in.
“As we’ve seen the heroic effort of health authorities and medical advancements around the globe, almost two-thirds of the world’s population have received at least one dose of a vaccination against COVID-19,” Airbnb noted. “And many countries have now implemented living with COVID-19 plans, as it becomes part of our world.”
The change will not impact many of the other COVID policies Airbnb put in place over the past few years. Among those:
- Frontline is remaining in place, allowing hosts to share their homes with frontline workers and first responders.
- Five-step enhanced cleaning practices will remain mandatory for all hosts.
- An online tool to track travel restrictions and government advisories is still available for guests prior to booking.
- The Superfund Relief Program offers $17 million in grants to those struggling financially as a result of the pandemic.
“The safety of our community is our priority, and we continue to monitor the situation closely,” Airbnb concluded.
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