Airbnb, possibly the biggest player in the short-term rental market, will cancel all reservations made in the Washington area next week and block new rentals, the company said in a statement Wednesday.
The move came after police and elected officials warned Americans not to travel to Washington for the inauguration of President-elect Joseph R. Biden Jr., citing the risk of the coronavirus spreading and the threat of another attack similar to the violent one last week. sits at the Capitol.
Law enforcement officials warned of threats of violence ahead of the Jan. 20 inauguration, and National Guard troops flooded Washington in response. On Monday, leaders from the District of Columbia, Virginia and Maryland released a joint statement asking potential visitors not to travel to the area, citing both the coronavirus pandemic and the riot.
Already, 16 groups – some of them armed and most of President Trump’s supporters – have registered to stage protests in Washington, although Mayor Muriel Bowser has called on federal officials to revoke any public assembly permits issued. .
Earlier this week, Airbnb said it would review reservations in the Washington area and cancel those it said were made by members associated with extremist or hate groups. On Wednesday, he said he would take the broader measure of canceling all bookings in response to requests from people to opt out.
Ms. Bowser and the governors of Virginia and Maryland “have made it clear that visitors should not travel to the DC metro area for the grand opening,” the company said in a statement. “In addition, we are aware of reports released yesterday afternoon of known armed militias and hate groups attempting to travel and disrupt the inauguration.”
Airbnb said it will reimburse guests for their reservations and reimburse hosts at its own expense.
The company also said it banned “many people” associated with known hate groups or otherwise involved in the mob on Capitol Hill. Airbnb, through a spokesperson, declined to provide further details.