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the coronavirus crisis

Airbnb's new coronavirus measures include option for 'buffer' period between stays

Amid the coronavirus pandemic, Airbnb will implement a new cleaning protocol program and will set a "buffer" period in between bookings.

The company announced these new steps on Monday, unveiling a new cleaning protocol program under which hosts pledge to follow procedures from Airbnb in cleaning every room in their home and get certified, Skift reports. The program will roll out in May, and Airbnb says it encourages all hosts to adopt its new "enhanced" cleaning practices.

"The host Cleaning Protocol will include specific information on COVID-19 prevention, such as the use of personal protective equipment, like masks and gloves for hosts or their cleaners, as well as disinfectants that are approved by regulatory authorities," Airbnb said.

Hosts, Airbnb said, can also use a new Booking Buffer feature which spaces out guest stays by blocking reservations during a certain period, which the company would set at 72 hours. During this period, the homes would be empty with "no activity other than cleaning." Skift reports that "some hosts may choose neither" of these two new options but "then may risk losing bookings from guests concerned about cleaning standards," as Airbnb said users will be able to identify which hosts are included in the programs.

USA Today reports that the new protocols are a "first step" for the company, and Chris Lehane, an Airbnb senior vice president, described a new 40-page manual of cleaning standards as a "new baseline."