Airbnb restricts UK bookings to key workers due to coronavirus
Airbnb has blocked UK bookings for all customers except key workers during the coronavirus lockdown.
UK listings still appear on the platform however bookings were blocked from 9am today unless they are essential. The restrictions will stay in place until at least 18 April.
Under the government lockdown restrictions, all hotels and other accommodation providers were told to close unless they were offering rooms to key workers or vulnerable groups.
The home rental firm had previously been criticised for advertising “isolation retreats” despite government regulations to stay home and avoid travelling.
Airbnb had already banned private room rentals in shared houses, stopped offering an instant book option, and offered guests refunds for rooms they were unable to use.
Today’s move comes amid fears the public could flout lockdown rules during the upcoming Easter bank holiday weekend.
“Restricting bookings on Airbnb to key workers and other essential stays will allow hosts to continue supporting frontline workers while following government guidance,” said Patrick Robinson, director of public Policy at Airbnb.
Last month Airbnb said it will pay $250m to hosts for two and a half months of reservations that have been cancelled in the wake of the coronavirus.
In a letter to hosts, chief executive Brian Chesky said hosts would receive 25 per cent of their normal cancellation fee for stays booked between 14 March and 31 May, if the booking was made on or before 14 March.