Airbnb wants to provide free, subsidized lodging for 100,000 personnel fighting COVID-19

The CDC and a new study look at how long the coronavirus can live on surfaces. USA TODAY

Airbnb wants to provide free, subsidized lodging for 100,000 personnel fighting COVID-19

As many as 100,000 medical workers, first responders and relief workers worldwide who are combatting the coronavirus crisis could have free places to stay from online rental service Airbnb.

Airbnb hosts who typically make homes and apartments available to vacationers want to contribute to help those treating COVID-19 patients and fighting the virus' spread.

“We’ve heard from countless hosts around the world who want to provide a comforting home to heroic first responders,"  said Airbnb co-founder Joe Gebbia in an announcement on the Airbnb website Thursday. "We are connecting our nonprofit partners, government agencies and others with our incredible host community to work together in these extraordinary times.”

To connect homes with personnel, Airbnb will work with businesses, government and emergency management agencies and nonprofits including the International Federation of the Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies, the International Rescue Committee, International Medical Corps, the company says.

Airbnb hosts can opt to make their homes open for free through Airbnb’s Open Homes platform, which the rental site created in 2012 for emergency housing. Airbnb will also waive fees for stays with hosts who cannot make homes available for free.

In Italy and France, nearly 6,000 Airbnb hosts have already made their homes available for doctors, nurses, caregivers and other medical support staff in two pilot programs, the company says.

Safe hosting requirements include listing of entire homes, enhanced cleaning, and allowing 72 hours between stays. Airbnb’s partners or affiliates will ensure that stays are COVID-19 related and responders are familiar with safety protocols. 

With the help of experts, Airbnb has developed new cleanliness protocols to take into account that dwellers may have higher exposure to the coronavirus and, possibly, COVID-19 patients. 

"As medical and relief workers require accommodation for response and preparedness, the Airbnb community is in a unique position to help," said Dr. Larry Brilliant, chairman of the advisory board of Ending Pandemics, an epidemiologist who assisted the World Health Organization's fight to end smallpox. "We are working to provide clear communication and resources, based on rapidly evolving knowledge about this novel virus and best practices on sanitation, in order to help keep communities as safe as possible."

We are partnering with our hosts to provide healthcare providers, relief workers, and first responders on the front lines of the COVID-19 pandemic with places that are safe, clean, and allow them to be close to their patients.

— Airbnb (@Airbnb) March 26, 2020

For more information about hosting coronavirus responders and personnel – or to donate to the effort – go to the Airbnb website.

Follow USA TODAY reporter Mike Snider on Twitter: @MikeSnider.


News Related


Trump’s ‘mission accomplished’ moment is premature and deadly. We have not defeated COVID.

Desperate for crowds and adoration, Trump has put his most fervent supporters at risk of getting a deadly disease. Future historians will be astonished. Read more »

NFLPA president JC Tretter says NFL is putting season, players at risk with its coronavirus approach

NFL Players Association president JC Tretter said Tuesday the NFL is putting the 2020 season at risk with its coronavirus approach, calling on the league to better “prioritize player safety.” “Like many other... Read more »

Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro says he tested positive for the coronavirus

RIO DE JANEIRO (AP) — Brazil’s President Jair Bolsonaro says he has tested positive for COVID-19 after months of downplaying the virus’ severity. Bolsonaro confirmed the test results while wearing a mask and... Read more »

Venice Film Festival forges ahead amid COVID-19 pandemic with reduced lineup

The show will go on for the Venice Film Festival in September, but with a few modifications due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Organizers said Tuesday that they are pushing forward with plans for... Read more »

Amtrak offers buy-one, get-one promotion on its sleeper trains amid COVID-19 — with a catch

Amtrak wants you to have sweet dreams the next time you travel — so much so that it’s sweetening the deal on its sleeper “roomettes.” The rail service is offering a buy-one-get-one-free discount... Read more »

Florida teen treated with hydroxychloroquine at home before dying of COVID-19, report says

FORT MEYERS, Fla. – The family of a 17-year-old Florida girl who died last month from COVID-19 treated her symptoms at home for nearly a week before taking her to a hospital, a... Read more »

Mookie Betts worried MLB coronavirus testing woes could prevent him from ever playing for Dodgers

During nearly four months away from the game, Mookie Betts said he “stayed away from baseball to keep myself sane.” It’s not hard to understand why. The 2018 American League Most Valuable Player... Read more »

Tom Hanks doesn’t get ‘how common sense has somehow been put into question’ with coronavirus

Read more »

Can Gov. DeSantis force Florida schools to reopen amid the coronavirus pandemic? Some school leaders seem doubtful.

PALM BEACH, Fla. — As concern about the state order spread online, some school leaders said: Not so fast. As Florida educators puzzle over how to start the new academic year, Gov. Ron... Read more »

Texas surpasses 200,000 coronavirus cases after 4th of July holiday weekend

AUSTIN, Texas – Texas reached 200,000 total COVID-19 cases Monday, just 17 days after crossing the 100,000 threshold, a figure that took the state nearly four months to hit. The grim milestone came... Read more »