Airbnb announces 'enhanced cleaning' protocol for hosts, adds 24-hour 'wait period' between bookings

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On Monday, Airbnb announced the upcoming launch of an enhanced cleaning initiative that includes a new certification program allowing hosts to advertise themselves as having adopted a set of stricter cleaning standards in response to the COVID-19 health crisis.

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The cleaning standards, referred to as the “Cleaning Protocol” by Airbnb, instruct hosts on how to clean “every room in a home,” per a news release. Hosts who enroll for certification will be required to adopt a number of health and safety measures, such as wearing personal protective equipment (PPE) when cleaning between guests, and only using disinfectants approved by “regulatory authorities."

Hosts will also be required to leave a 24-hour waiting period between bookings “as a precaution to address the possibility of particles that may remain airborne for a few hours.”

The cleaning standards, referred to as the “Cleaning Protocol” by Airbnb, would instruct hosts on how to clean “every room in a home,” per a news release.

The cleaning standards, referred to as the “Cleaning Protocol” by Airbnb, would instruct hosts on how to clean “every room in a home,” per a news release. (Airbnb)

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Those who do not enroll in the Cleaning Protocol certification program, or for some reason can’t, can instead adopt a feature called “Booking Buffer,” which would automatically block reservations for 72 hours between guests.

A representative for Airbnb was not immediately available to confirm if hosts would be able to opt-out of both programs.

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Airbnb said its enhanced cleaning guidelines, to be launched in May, were “informed by” standards set forth by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), a hygiene technology company called Ecolab, and former Surgeon General Dr. Vivek Murthy.

Hosts who enroll in the "Cleaning Protocol" certification program will be able to display this certification in their listings.

Hosts who enroll in the "Cleaning Protocol" certification program will be able to display this certification in their listings. (iStock)

“I’m looking forward to helping the Airbnb community as it develops a health and science-based approach for safe travel lodging and experiences,” Dr. Murthy said, per Airbnb’s news release. “These approaches will continue to evolve as our knowledge and understanding of COVID-19 grows.”

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The cleaning protocols are just one of several of Airbnb’s responses to the coronavirus health crisis. The company had previously announced changes to its cancellation policy, as well as a relief fund for hosts who were losing income as a result.