Airbnb Cancels, Blocks DC Reservations During the Inauguration Week

Airbnb Cancels, Blocks DC Reservations During the Inauguration Week
A Capitol Police officer stands with members of the National Guard behind a crowd control fence surrounding Capitol Hill in Washington on Jan. 7, 2021. (Brendan Smialowski/AFP via Getty Images)
Bill Pan

Airbnb announced Wednesday that it will cancel reservations in the District of Columbia metro area during Inauguration week, citing travel advisories from various local, state, and federal officials.

The online rental company said in a press release that reservations made during the time period will be canceled and that any future booking attempts will be blocked. Reservations made through HotelTonight, a hotel reservation site owned by Airbnb, are also being canceled.

Guests will receive full refunds, and Airbnb will pay hosts what they would have earned from those canceled reservations.

"Airbnb's work continues to be informed by inputs from our local host community as well as Washington, D.C. officials, Metro Police, and Members of Congress throughout this week," a Wednesday press release reads. "In particular, Mayor [Muriel] Bowser, Governor [Larry] Hogan, and Governor [Ralph] Northam have been clear that visitors should not travel to the D.C. Metro area for the Inauguration."

Airbnb added that it is aware of recent reports about "armed militias" and "known hate groups" planning to travel to the nation's capital and disrupt the Jan. 20 presidential inauguration. The company previously said it has found the accounts of individuals who were involved in the breach of the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6 and promptly banned them from the platform.

The announcement comes as authorities seek to enhance security in Washington ahead of the Inauguration Day. Gen. Daniel Hokanson, the chief of the National Guard Bureau, told reporters that there will be at least 10,000 troops deployed to the city to support local and federal agencies.

"Right now we have 10,000 inbound and we're authorized to go to [15,000]," Hokanson said, adding that the troops "are authorized to do law enforcement if that's requested from the supporting agency."

Even with military forces in place, the mayor of Washington and the governors of Maryland and Virginia issued a joint statement, advising against Americans coming to the city for the celebrations.

"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," the statement reads. "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, D.C. and to instead participate virtually."

"In this very trying time, January 6 was a dark moment for our nation. But we know that we will get through this period because American ideals are stronger than one extreme ideology. Together, we will overcome extremism and get back to the work of our residents," the trio said.

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