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A Push to Get DC-Area Airbnb Hosts Not to Book Near Inauguration

by Nena Perry-Brown

An Airbnb listing on Capitol Hill.

Last week's storming of the U.S. Capitol by Trump-supporting insurrectionists not only stunned the nation, but also had a chilling effect on DC residents, many of whom were disturbed to find people who had made the pilgrimage to the city for the riots staying next door to them in Airbnbs.

While Airbnb has acknowledged its oversight in allowing people with ties to white supremacy to use their platform, the past week has also seen a grassroots movement arise in the area. Many are calling on Airbnb hosts to simply not accept bookings for the days leading up to the inauguration, when additional demonstrations are planned.

Shut Down DC and other groups and individuals have been asking DC-area residents on social media and platforms like NextDoor not to accept any new short-term rental reservations between January 15th and January 21st. Two of the city's newest Councilmembers have also requested that resident-hosts try to avoid booking during that time. For those who have already accepted bookings, some are asking them to cancel reservations ahead of time. 

In the meantime, Airbnb has committed to removing users affiliated with hate groups and/or found to be complicit in last week's insurgency from their platform. Hosts who suspect their guests may be part of a hate group can call an Urgent Safety Line.

The DC mayor and the governors of Virginia and Maryland also issued a joint statement yesterday asking people not to travel to the area for inauguration. 

“On January 20, there will be a transition of power, and we will work together, and with our partners in the federal government, to ensure the safety of the National Capital Region. Due to the unique circumstances surrounding the 59th Presidential Inauguration, including last week’s violent insurrection as well as the ongoing and deadly COVID-19 pandemic, we are taking the extraordinary step of encouraging Americans not to come to Washington, DC and to instead participate virtually."

On Monday night, the mayor also extended an executive order pausing Phase Two activities through January 22nd.

Considering that hotel bookings for the inauguration were far below average as recently as last week, it seems that those who would travel to the DC area to peacefully witness the event are already heeding President-elect Joe Biden's request that people opt to watch from home instead of traveling due to the pandemic.

This article originally published at http://dc.urbanturf.com/articles/blog/many-asking-dc-area-airbnb-hosts-not-to-book-near-inauguration-week/17734

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