As the US tightens security after threats of domestic attacks surfaced, US officials are asking people not to travel to Washington, DC to attend President-elect Joe Biden’s inauguration on Jan. 20.
The threats of armed attacks and assassination of US lawmakers and the president-elect come in the heels of a deadly insurrection by Trump supporters at the US Capitol on Jan. 6, which left five people dead.
Airbnb has responded to pleas of various local, state and federal officials to avoid the DC metro area during the inauguration week by canceling all reservations. Those who have already booked and paid on the app will be refunded in full.
It is also banning members of hate groups and the rioters who have been identified by the authorities.
“Airbnb strongly condemns (the) attack on the US Capitol and the efforts to undermine our democratic process. We will continue to uphold our community policies by banning violent hate group members when we learn of such memberships, and the Airbnb PAC will update its framework and withhold support from those who voted against the certification of the presidential election results.”
The app also said in a statement, “Additionally, we will prevent any new reservations in the Washington, DC area from being booked during that time by blocking such reservations. Guests whose reservations are canceled will be refunded in full. We also will reimburse hosts, at Airbnb’s expense, the money they would have earned from these cancelled reservations. HotelTonight reservations also will be canceled.”
Airbnb said it listened to inputs from its local host community as well as Washington, D.C. officials, Metro Police and Members of Congress throughout this week. “In particular, Mayor Bowser, Governor Hogan and Governor Northam have been clear that visitors should not travel to the DC metro area for the inauguration.”
Airbnb said it is aware of reports emerging regarding armed militias and known hate groups that are attempting to travel and disrupt the Inauguration. “We are continuing our work to ensure hate group members are not part of the Airbnb community. As we’ve learned through media or law enforcement sources the names of individuals confirmed to have been responsible for the violent criminal activity at the United States Capitol on Jan. 6, we’ve investigated whether the named individuals have an account on Airbnb.”
The app has identified numerous individuals who are either associated with known hate groups or otherwise involved in the riots at the Capitol Building and have been banned from Airbnb’s platform.