AUSTIN (KXAN) — Independence Day weekend 2021 will hopefully be a cause for celebration as vaccinations increase nationwide — but short-term rental giant Airbnb says it’s making moves to avoid causing a spike in COVID-19 cases over July 4.
Airbnb announced Monday it will block single-night reservations for entire homes through the weekend of July 4 as part of its ban on large parties during the pandemic.
“We’ve learned that July 4 is being pegged as the “reopening” date in the US, which is great for the country as well as for the Airbnb community. We also know that public health and safety experts are still saying mass gatherings should not happen,” Airbnb says.
In Texas, the company has taken several actions to prevent COVID-19 spread, including suspending/removing 80 listings in violation of its party ban — enacted in August 2020 and capped bookings at 16 people.
But the July 4 booking block will likely not cave too many Texas plans.
Back in September, an Airbnb spokesperson told KXAN that the majority of its hosts in Texas already ban parties and that the company, headquartered in San Francisco, takes steps to help hosts whose guests have violated policies.
The July 4 weekend block won’t limit guests with histories of positive reviews, however. Additionally, the company says anyone who’s already booked a one-night stay won’t lose their reservation.
The initiative is a small part of what Airbnb is calling its “Summer of Responsible Travel,” which includes increased safety and cleanliness practices, 24/7 support for hosts, and discounts on noise detection devices to help hosts be more aware of large crowds on their properties.
The Airbnb Party and Events Policy page says the party ban will remain in effect indefinitely.