Airbnb opens up Austin homes for first responders, medical professionals needing isolation


AUSTIN (KXAN) — Short term rental giant Airbnb has launched a new program which allows workers directly addressing COVID-19 concerns to stay at properties for free or at a discounted rate.

The goal is for hosts to open their homes to medical personnel, relief workers and first responders on the frontlines, hence the program’s name: The Frontline Stays Program. Airbnb said it’s waiving fees for the first 100,000 stays booked through the program.

Those who fit the description can submit their professional information and housing needs here. Those that are approved will then receive an invitation which allows them to book a stay.

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For hosts, you can sign your BnB up here. Airbnb says they have developed health and safety protocols based on CDC guidelines and requirements.

You can find more details on cleaning standards here and more details about the Frontline Stays Program here.

Q&A with Airbnb

Q: How long will frontline workers be able to stay in my Airbnb put up for the Frontline Stays Program?
A: Hosts choose when and how long they want to put their house on the platform for frontline workers.

Q: Is there a financial incentive for Airbnb hosts to put their homes in this program?
A: There is no financial incentive for hosts. This is about supporting each other and supporting the community. This is a way to help people.

Q: For a host that is offering their home for free, what can they expect if damages are incurred? Who covers those expenses?
A: We recognize hosting is a big commitment and appreciate our host community’s generosity, that is why we  provide our $1 million host guarantee insurance and $1 million liability policy on every stay via our Frontline stays program.

Q: Will Airbnb run full background checks on potential guests? How can you be sure that these people are actually a Frontline worker?
A: We work with trusted nonprofits, healthcare partners, and government and emergency agencies who book stays on behalf of their responders. These organizations will ensure that relief workers have an assignment that’s COVID-19 related and are familiar with the proper safety protocols.  

Individual frontline responders booking on their own can now submit their professional information and housing needs directly on the Airbnb platform by visiting Once they complete the form, eligible responders will receive an email invitation providing access to search and book places to stay. Hosts will be able to see that their guest is an eligible frontline worker.

Q: Does this deal apply to the families of Frontline workers who want to isolate themselves or just the worker?
A: We’re specifically working with responders who work in the medical and relief fields, and are familiar with safety protocols. Medical workers and first responders around the world are performing lifesaving work, and they are typically more well-versed in social distancing and safety protocols than the average citizen. But we also understand that these are unique stays and require an extra level of safety precautions. That’s why we are very clear that hosts understand the implications of hosting these stays, and agree to enhanced safety protocols for both their own, their guest’s, and their community’s safety.

Q: Would Airbnb cover any deep cleaning and sanitation needed for once the frontline worker leaves the property?
A: To be a host on this platform, hosts must specifically attest that they will follow a new and enhanced cleaning protocol, that has been put together based on standards issued by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), as well as guidance by medical experts. Many of these Frontline stays are paid, including stays paid through grants Airbnb has made to nonprofit organizations or by for-profit medical institutions, and hosts are able to charge a cleaning fee for their enhanced cleaning.

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