Airbnb to Cancel D.C. Reservations For Subsequent Week

Airbnb, arguably the largest operator in the short-term rental market, will cancel all Washington area reservations and block new rentals next week, the company said in a statement on Wednesday.

The decision came after police and elected officials warned Americans not to travel to Washington for the inauguration of President-elect Joseph R. Biden Jr., and the risk of the coronavirus spreading and another attack similar to the last one Week spearheaded siege of the Capitol.

Law enforcement warned of threats of violence ahead of the January 20 inauguration, and National Guard forces flooded Washington in response. On Monday, District of Columbia, Virginia and Maryland leaders issued a joint statement telling potential visitors not to travel to the area, citing both the coronavirus pandemic and the uprising.

16 groups – some of them armed and most of President Trump’s supporters – have already signed up for protests in Washington, despite Mayor Muriel Bowser asking federal officials to cancel all public assembly permits that have been issued.

Earlier this week, Airbnb said it would review reservations in the Washington area and cancel those detected by members of extremist or hate groups. On Wednesday, it said it would take the broader step of canceling all reservations to accommodate requests from non-attendees.

Ms. Bowser and the governors of Virginia and Maryland “knew they shouldn’t travel to metropolitan DC for the inauguration,” the company said in a statement. “We are also aware of reports released yesterday afternoon of armed militias and known hate groups trying to travel and disrupt the inauguration.”

Airbnb said it would reimburse guests for their reservations and reimburse hosts at their own expense.

The company also said it banned “numerous people” associated with known hate groups or otherwise linked to the Capitol mob, although it did not provide details.

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