Vacation rental company, Airbnb, has announced that it will be implementing a new global party ban policy amid the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.
The new policy, which was announced on Friday, indicates that vacation rental listings will be limited to an occupancy of 16 people.
The global ban on parties is to discourage large group gatherings in order to prevent the spread of the coronavirus, says the company.
In a press release, Airbnb said that the ban will apply “to all future bookings on Airbnb and it will remain in effect indefinitely until further notice.”
Specific penalties have yet to be identified, however, the new policy states that guests “may be legally pursued by Airbnb if they violate” the party ban rules. Further details are expected in the near future.
The party ban policy is the latest change that Airbnb has made throughout the duration of the pandemic.
The global party ban aligns with a trend from Airbnb in recent years, trying to crack down on “party houses” that have continually caused neighbourhood disturbances.
Stricter rules were implemented in 2019 in an effort to crack down on unauthorized parties, including manual reviews of high-risk reservations as well as restrictions on allowing guests under the age of 25 to book entire houses locally.
Airbnb has also adapted its policies during the current health crisis. According to the vacation rental company, it removed the “event-friendly” and the “parties and events allowed” search filters from the online booking system.
Airbnb said they also introduced a new policy requiring all users to adhere to local COVID-19 public health mandates.
“At the time [of implementation], most local governments were imposing strict limits on gatherings, which effectively created a form-fitting, patchwork ban on parties and events,” reads a statement from the company.
The company adds that it is currently in the process of communicating the new global party ban to its community.
Although Airbnb has set an occupancy limit of 16 on all guest gatherings, the company highlights this isn’t “a magic number,” indicating that issues can arise with groups of any size.
“We are capping guests at 16 in these large properties as one step amongst several, all designed to mitigate any efforts to misuse an Airbnb for a party. We will continue to enforce our party rules against groups of any size and will be taking action both on guests and listings if we receive reports from neighbours,” concludes the release.
Back in July, B.C. announced it would limit the number of people allowed on rental properties and boats, including houseboats, due to increasing COVID-19 cases. Owners of vacation rental units and hotels across the province must store the contact information of every guest and limit any extra visitors they may invite over to five people.