With hundreds of thousands of Airbnb hosts left without guests in the coming weeks, Airbnb is trying to put those empty accommodations to good use. The home-sharing company just announced that it will provide free accommodation for up to 100,000 COVID-19 responders around the world during the coronavirus pandemic.
According to Airbnb’s website, “To help battle the coronavirus, Airbnb is partnering with our hosts to connect 100,000 healthcare providers, relief workers, and first responders with clean, convenient places to stay that allow them to be close to their patients — and safely distanced from their own families. We may be apart, but we’ll get through this together.”
Many COVID-19 responders have been forced to leave their homes to avoid infecting their families, adding an additional layer of distress to an already stressful situation. To help these workers find safe accommodation close to work, Airbnb is calling on hosts who can offer their place for free, and if they can’t, Airbnb will waive the fees. The company has also created a list of cleaning and safety protocols for hosts and responders in need of a place to follow scrupulously.
According to a tweet by Airbnb co-founder and CEO Brian Chesky on March 27, the day after the initial announcement, 20,000 hosts had opened up their homes for the initiative.
Over 20,000 homes as of this morning thanks for our amazing hosts! https://t.co/3zovlL6Uys
— Brian Chesky (@bchesky) March 27, 2020
Similarly, in New York City, the Four Seasons Hotel is offering free rooms to medical workers.
If you’re a host who would like to participate, check out the guidelines. If you don’t have accommodations to provide, note that you can make a donation. Donations go to Airbnb’s partner organizations (International Rescue Committee, International Medical Corps, and International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies) that are supporting COVID-19 responders in need of a place to stay.