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Airbnb is establishing a new “cleaning protocol” for their rental property hosts and guests, stemming from the coronavirus outbreak.

USA TODAY

Airbnb is taking steps to reduce “unauthorized house parties” thrown by guests in rental homes.

The San Francisco-based lodging company announced Thursday in a news release that it had sent new guidelines to U.S. hosts to “protect the safety of our community” as coronavirus cases continue to rage throughout the country.

As of Sunday afternoon, the U.S. had more than 2.8 million COVID-19 cases and more than 129,000 deaths, according to Johns Hopkins data

“Reducing the number of unauthorized house parties on Airbnb has always been a priority, and it’s more important now than ever,” the release read. “With public health mandates in place throughout the country, we’re taking actions to support safe and responsible travel in the United States.”

Under the new policy, U.S. guests under the age of 25 who have less than three positive reviews and any negative reviews will be restricted from booking entire homes in areas close to where they live. They will continue to be allowed to book “any type of listing outside their local area” and can book private rooms and hotel rooms anywhere. 

A similar policy was enacted in Canada earlier this year and led to a “meaningful drop” in parties, the release said. 

“There will always be people who work to find ways around our trust and safety protections, and we know that people over the age of 24 are perfectly capable of booking a home for the wrong reasons, too,” Airbnb concluded. “But based on the positive impact this policy has had on unauthorized parties booked by guests under 25, we believe this is the right action to continue to protect the safety of our community.”

‘Tip of the iceberg’: Airbnb, Vrbo guests fighting for refunds after coronavirus cancellations

This isn’t the first time Airbnb established new rules to cut down on parties. In December, the company announced it would ban “open invite” parties at all of its accommodations in the wake of a Halloween shooting at an Airbnb rental in a San Francisco suburb.

Airbnb said it would ban gatherings that were open to anyone and advertised on social media, in addition to large parties at apartment buildings and condos. Boutique hotels and professional event venues were exempt. 

In the same announcement, Airbnb issued new guest behavior rules for 2020: Guests get a warning for one instance of excessive noise, unauthorized guests, unauthorized parking, unauthorized smoking or excessive messiness reported by a host or a neighbor. Further violations will result in account suspension or removal.

Contributing: The Associated Press

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