In an effort to crack down on house parties and help stop the spread of COVID-19, Airbnb has introduced new restrictions for renters under 25.
The short-term rental company announced Thursday that renters under 25 who have fewer than three positive reviews will not be able to book single-family homes close to where they live. The effort comes amid ongoing pressure to prevent parties and gatherings at a time when the virus continues to spread.
As of Tuesday, the United States had surpassed 3 million cases of the novel respiratory virus.
“Reducing the number of unauthorized house parties on Airbnb has always been a priority, and it’s more important now than ever,” Airbnb said in a press release. “With public health mandates in place throughout the country, we’re taking actions to support safe and responsible travel in the United States.”
The restrictions do not apply to areas outside of one’s city or private rooms and hotel rooms. It is also unique to bookings in the U.S., which has shouldered the largest number of coronavirus cases in the world. Back in February, Airbnb introduced similar restrictions for bookers under 25 in Canada after a shooting at a Toronto home. Airbnb said it saw a “significant drop” in the number of unauthorized parties from its younger users after the change.
At the start of July, Airbnb also updated its extenuating circumstances policy. Reservations made after March 15 are not covered because, after the COVID-19 outbreak had been declared a global pandemic, it is no longer considered extenuating but rather a risk that the traveler willingly takes on. The rule refers to disruptions caused by things like border closures or plane cancellations. Extenuating circumstances still apply if the host or guest gets sick with COVID-19.