Airbnb cancels all bookings in the UK for the next month

Short-term rental giant has been under pressure for allowing tourists to risk spreading coronavirus.

Short-stay rental giant Airbnb has cancelled all bookings in the UK for April and said properties would only be available to health care professionals and key workers.

It put the restrictions in place in response to government advice regarding the coronavirus pandemic and resulting lockdown.

There have been many reports of tourists flocking to ‘remote’ Airbnb locations in a bid to avoid Covid-19, only to be accused of risking its spread.

SNP Westminster leader Ian Blackford, who said travellers were still going to Skye, welcomed the move but said the decision should have been made earlier.

He said: “I have just received a message from Airbnb that states ‘From 9am today it will not be possible to book a stay on Airbnb in the United Kingdom during the current lockdown period’.

“I welcome this development that falls after the public pressure on the company.

“Whilst I am grateful for this announcement from Airbnb this should have been the case from the outset of the lockdown.

“I hope the company has learnt lessons from this.”

Airbnb said in a statement: “In response to UK Government advice we have liaised with guests to cancel all leisure stays during April 2020 to ensure we limit the spread of coronavirus, protect our community and observe travel restrictions.

“During April we are happy to host healthcare professionals, or key workers connected to the coronavirus response who still need accommodation away from home during this difficult time.

“For the period ahead we have turned off ‘instant book’ so we can liaise with guests prior to booking.”

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