Airbnb and subsidiary HotelTonight are canceling reservations in the Washington, D.C., metro area during the week of President-elect Joe Biden and Vice President-elect Kamala Harris’ inauguration, the company said Wednesday.
“D.C. Mayor Bowser, Maryland Governor Hogan and Virginia Governor Northam have been clear that visitors should not travel to the D.C. Metro area for the Inauguration,” the company said. “Additionally, we are aware of reports emerging yesterday afternoon regarding armed militias and known hate groups that are attempting to travel and disrupt the Inauguration.”
On Monday, Mayor Muriel Bowser issued a notice asking Americans not to come to Washington D.C. for the event and instead “participate virtually,” given spikes in coronavirus cases across the country (President-elect Biden’s inaugural committee began discouraging attendance mid-December).
Airbnb also announced previously that it would permanently ban any individuals associated with last week’s violent riot at the Capitol from renting on its platform.
The company said it has taken steps to “ensure hate group members are not part of the Airbnb community” — banning “numerous individuals” from using its platform if Airbnb has learned they “are either associated with known hate groups or otherwise involved in the criminal activity at the Capitol Building.”
Guests who had reserved a place will be refunded in full, Airbnb said. It will also reimburse the hosts with the money that would have been earned from the canceled reservations.
It is unclear whether other lodging companies will join Airbnb in suspending reservations in Washington.