If you had an Airbnb reservation in Washington DC for the grand opening, it just got canceled. Airbnb customers will be reimbursed in full for down payments and Airbnb hosts will be reimbursed for their losses.
“Today, in response to various local, state and federal officials asking people not to travel to Washington, DC, we are announcing that Airbnb will be canceling reservations in the Washington, DC metro area during inauguration week. According to a statement released by Airbnb spokesperson Katie Ward. “Additionally, we will prevent any new reservations in the Washington, DC area from being reserved during this time by blocking those reservations.” Bookings made on Airbnb’s partner site, HotelTonight, are also being canceled.
Airbnb says it made the decision based on “contributions from our local host community” as well as government and law enforcement officials. “In particular, (Washington DC) Mayor Bowser, Governor (of Maryland) Hogan and Governor (of Virginia) Northam have made it clear that visitors should not travel to the DC metro area for the grand opening.” , according to the press release. “In addition, we are aware of reports released yesterday afternoon of known armed militias and hate groups attempting to travel and disrupt the inauguration.”
Federal and local law enforcement is stepping up alerts to potential travelers who wish to stay outside of Washington, DC during the inauguration period. An FBI memo warned of armed protests planned in Washington next week. The National Guard has authorized up to 15,000 troops in Washington.
Today is the first day of an extended National Special Security Event (NSSE) in the district which runs through Sunday, January 24. An NSSE designation allows the U.S. Secret Service, the FBI, and the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) to work. together to secure areas that may be targets.
In practical terms for visitors, all of this means an extended period of many blocked streets, barricaded areas and an amplified police presence, as well as closures of some major attractions such as the Washington Monument.
Just days ago, Airbnb took steps to remove members of hate groups from its platform and permanently ban those who were engaged in criminal activity during the Capitol storming on January 6.
As part of its screening process, Airbnb cross-checks January arrest logs from DC Metro Police and other law enforcement sources, as well as media reports that name people who participated. storming the Capitol on January 6. account, we are taking action, which includes banning them from using Airbnb, ”the company said in a previous statement.
“As we learned through the media or law enforcement sources of the names of individuals confirmed guilty of violent criminal activity on the United States Capitol on January 6, we verified whether the individuals named had an account on Airbnb., ” said today’s statement. “Through this work, we have identified many individuals who are either associated with known hate groups or otherwise involved in criminal activity on Capitol Hill, and they have been banned from the Airbnb platform.”