TORONTO — Airbnb says it has a plan to curb New Year’s Eve parties this year while Canada works to slow the spread of the COVID-19 virus, with the announcement coming not long after a short-term rental was the site of a 60-person party in Mississauga.
In addition to its ongoing ban on parties, Airbnb now says guests will need a history of positive reviews on its app to reserve an entire home for New Year’s Eve in Canada.
Airbnb is making an exception for one-night bookings made up to Tuesday, based on data that suggest bookings made before early December rarely involve parties.
The app is loosening its standards from a similar policy on Halloween by allowing users with previous positive reviews to book a home for one night.
But Airbnb says it will put more stringent policies in place as the new year nears, by using technology that blocks certain kinds of last-minute bookings.
Airbnb’s announcement comes after Peel Police Deputy Chief Marc Andrews said a short-term rental unit was the site of a 60-person party this past weekend, resulting in thousands in fines to partiers who violated COVID-19 restrictions.
“Airbnb bans parties, and the reported behaviour is outrageous,” said Airbnb policy spokesman Nathan Rotman of the weekend’s party bust.
“We are in touch with Mississauga officials to offer our support and have suspended the listing as we investigate further.”