Airbnb cancels DC-area reservations during inauguration

Airbnb said it is canceling reservations in the D.C. area and blocking new bookings next week for the presidential inauguration, amid security concerns following the deadly storming of the Capitol Jan. 6 and calls by leaders for people to avoid traveling to the area.

The short-term rental company announced the move on its website Wednesday.

It’s not clear how many total reservations will be canceled through the action. Guests whose reservations are canceled will be refunded, and the company said it will reimburse hosts.

The cancellations also apply to reservations made on HotelTonight, the company said.

Earlier this week, D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser, Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan and Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam issued a jointed statement urging people not to come to the D.C. area for the inauguration ceremonies, citing the “violent insurrection” at the U.S. Capitol last week, which came as lawmakers formally counted Electoral College votes that affirmed President-elect Joe Biden’s victory in the presidential election.

The D.C. area is on high alert for the inauguration, with thousands of National Guard troops in the city, and widespread street closures that have a large swath of D.C. locked down.

Airbnb said it is checking names of people arrested and charged with violence at the Capitol with its customers accounts.

“Through this work, we have identified numerous individuals who are either associated with known hate groups or otherwise involved in the criminal activity at the Capitol Building, and they have been banned from Airbnb’s platform,” the company stated.

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