Airbnb has announced it is canceling all bookings in the Washington, D.C. metro area during the week of the Jan. 20 inauguration of President-elect Joe Biden. The company is also blocking any further bookings for D.C. during this time.
Just off the heels of the Jan. 6 Pro-Trump Capitol riot and the continual increase in COVID-19 cases, much of D.C.’s tourist attractions have been temporarily closed. Area officials are imploring people to avoid traveling to the nation’s capital and instead, enjoy the inauguration via television or online.
“Airbnb’s work continues to be informed by inputs from our local host community as well as Washington, D.C. officials, Metro Police and Members of Congress throughout this week,” Airbnb spokesman Ben Breit shared in a statement. “In particular, Mayor Bowser, Governor Hogan and Governor Northam have been clear that visitors should not travel to the D.C. Metro area for the Inauguration.”
Guests whose reservations have been cancelled will be fully refunded. Hosts will also be reimbursed the amount of the cancelled bookings. It is not clear how many reservations are being affected.
Airbnb initially announced it would only ban guests associated with previous violent activity or hate groups, however, the company later decided to expand the ban to include all D.C. area bookings for inauguration week.
“We have identified numerous individuals who are either associated with known hate groups or otherwise involved in the criminal activity at the Capitol Building, and they have been banned from Airbnb’s platform,” said Breit.
It has been a policy of the company to do so since 2017, when it blocked people attempting to attend a rally in Charlottesville, V.A. organized by white supremacists.
HotelTonight, an Airbnb subsidiary specializing in last-minute bookings, is also blocking D.C. reservations. Vacation home rental booking site Vrbo, however, is not.