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Airbnb will make masks and enhanced cleanings mandatory

Initially optional, the company’s “Enhanced Clean” program is now required.


(iStock/Washington Post illustration)

Unsure about using vacation rentals in the era of social distancing and anti-maskers? Airbnb is implementing mandatory health and safety protocols for both guests and hosts that will require masks, distancing and enhanced cleanings.

The company announced Wednesday that beginning next week, all hosts and guests must commit to wearing masks and distancing when interacting. And starting Nov. 20, hosts must abide by a five-step cleaning protocol or risk being removed from the platform.

“This commitment will help provide extra assurances to try and safeguard all our stakeholders — hosts, guests, their communities and governments,” Airbnb said in the announcement.

The guidelines for distancing says guests must “maintain appropriate distance from anyone who’s not part of your reservation at all times,” while hosts are expected to distance from guests “in a common area or shared space.” Entire-home reservations with remote entry are less likely to see those shared spaces than private-room listings, which typically have guests share a living space with the host. Hosts will be prompted to agree to the new terms in their Airbnb account, and guests will be required to sign off on mask and distancing requirements when they book a stay.

Cleaners will be required to wear a mask and gloves during cleanings, ventilate the spaces they are servicing, sanitize surfaces with approved cleaning products, wash laundry and dishes on the highest possible temperature settings, and refer to room-specific checklists.

The new mandatory cleaning protocols were developed as a program for hosts in June called “Enhanced Clean,” which was optional until this week. Airbnb says that since the program launched in June, nearly 1.5 million rentals have participated and earned an “Enhanced Clean” stamp on their listing.

The only exception to the new cleaning standards are listings in China, which has its own public health guidelines for cleanings, according to Airbnb.

Read more:

An interactive guide to traveling safely for the holidays

9 uniquely remote Airbnbs for a socially distanced getaway

Everywhere you should be sanitizing in your hotel

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