Coronavirus and Your Airbnb

Dear hosts, Airbnb has suspended all Beijing bookings through the end of April, flights have been canceled and ships are at sea without being able to dock. It’s all because of the outbreak of the Novel Coronavirus which has a new name COVID-19. You might think this has nothing to do with hosting and Airbnb but yes it does. Today’s episode is “The Coronavirus COVID-19 and your Airbnb.”

It’s very unfortunate that this virus is happening and we don’t even know what the final outcome is going to be. In this episode, I’m going to talk about what is COVID-19, Airbnb’s new extenuating policies because of it, and how to clean your home.

Dear hosts, I gathered information from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention also known as CDC, the World Health Organization also known as W.H.O and other organizations as I try to be as factual as possible.

Let’s start with what is COVID-19:

The COVID-19 is a new virus that had not previously been detected before the outbreak that was reported in Wuhan, China in December 2019. It’s part of a large family of viruses found in both humans and animals, remember SARS in 2003 and MERS in 2012, those are also Coronaviruses.

How does COVID-19 spread?

The virus originally emerged from an animal source which they’re still trying to determine. COVID-19 is spread from person-to-person who is in close contact, about 6 feet.

It’s spread when an infected person coughs and sneezes. The droplets can land in the mouth or noses of the nearby people and inhale into the lungs.

People are thought to be most contagious when they are the sickest. Cover your mouth when you cough or sneeze people, even if you don’t have this virus. It’s the right thing to do.

Where are the Coronavirus COVID-19 cases:

At the time of this recording there are over 80,000 cases confirmed, and over 2,600 deaths. Most of the deaths were in China which is where the virus started, but now there are reported fatalities in the Republic of Korea, Italy, France, Iran, Japan and the Philippines. Yes, there are reported cases from Thailand to the United States, and many other countries.

Most cases are from people who traveled from China, which is the reason why the country was in quarantine and there are travel restrictions all over the world.

The World Health Organization is doing a daily situation reports which has all the data on confirmed cases, fatalities and much more.

Should I get tested for Coronavirus COVID-19?

If you have a fever, cough, shortness of breath and you’re within 14 days after you travel from China. Or you have had close contact with someone showing these symptoms who have recently traveled from this area.

You need to call ahead to your doctor and let them know your information. Your doctor will work with your state public health department and CDC to determine the next steps.

Remember not every place has a test kit, you don’t want to infect more people and it could be a simple cold.

How dangerous is it?

Infection with Coronavirus COVID-19 can cause mild symptoms like runny nose, sore throat, cough, and fever. For some people, it can lead to pneumonia or breathing difficulties. In other cases, it can be fatal.

Older people and people with pre-existing medical conditions, such as, diabetes and heart disease, appear to be more vulnerable to becoming severely ill with the virus.

How do I protect myself?

Wash Your Hands, dear hosts, wash your hands.

Regularly and well with an alcohol-based hand rub or wash them with soap and water. This kills the viruses that may be on your hands.

Maintain social distancing:

Maintain at least 3 feet distance between yourself and anyone who is coughing or sneezing.

If you’re too close and someone is coughing or sneezing they might spray small liquid droplets which may contain virus.

Don’t touch your eyes, nose and mouth:

Remember you’re touching everything and your hands can pick up the virus, once contaminated they can transfer the virus to your eyes, nose or mouth. Then the virus can enter your body and make you sick. Therefore keep your hands away from your eyes, nose and mouth and keep washing them.

Practice good respiratory hygiene

Dear hosts, if you sneeze or cough this means cover your mouth and nose with your bent elbow or use a tissue. Then immediately throw the tissue in a covered trash can. Just the right thing to do.

Feeling sick, with a fever, cough and difficulty breathing?

Stay home and seek medical attention, but like I said before, call in advance because you don't want to make anyone sick.

Let's talk about wearing a mask

Masks provide a false sense of protection, especially if you don't use it properly. If a mask isn't fitted or sealed, they leave gaps around the mouth. Also people will scratch their nose, and fidget with it. You can't take off a mask to take a phone call.

The recommendation is:

  • N95 mask
  • If you don’t feel sick, you only need to wear a mask if you are taking care of a person with suspected COVID-19.
  • Wear a mask if you are coughing or sneezing.
  • Masks are effective only when used in combination with frequent hand-cleaning with alcohol-based hand rub or soap and water.
  • If you wear a mask, then you must know how to use it and dispose of it properly.

Now let's talk about Airbnb and Coronavirus COVID-19:

Airbnb has implemented a new extenuating circumstances policy for the Coronavirus COVID-19, there is a specific page on their website providing all the information and yes, I'll link to the page on my website, one more time go to the hosting slash 99 but here is what it says:

Coronavirus outbreak: The World Health Organization has declared the coronavirus outbreak a global health emergency. Impacted hosts and guests can find info on our Extenuating circumstances policy for coronavirus page. When you click on the link it takes you to:

Coronavirus information and extenuating circumstances policy: About the coronavirus outbreak (COVID-19)

On January 30, 2020, the World Health Organization (WHO) declared a Public Health Emergency of International Concern (PHEIC) for the current outbreak of coronavirus disease, known as COVID-19.

Given the health and safety risks posed by this virus, we are asking all hosts and guests to please review your local authorities' travel guidance and health advisories related to this outbreak, in addition to global guidance from the WHO. We strongly urge our community to take necessary precautions to protect yourself when traveling or hosting.

We’re providing a list of resources for your convenience—please check with your relevant local authority if it’s not featured below. As the situation evolves, please regularly check the advisories relevant to you for updates.

Airbnb's extenuating circumstances policy for the coronavirus outbreak

“Airbnb's extenuating circumstances policy covers our hosts and guests with eligible reservations who are being impacted by the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak. We're closely monitoring official guidance from local governmental and health authorities and the World Health Organization in order to support the health and wellbeing of our community in severely impacted areas. As the situation evolves, we will be continuously evaluating and updating this policy.

If your trip is covered by the policy, you will have the option to cancel your homes reservation or Airbnb Experience without charge. If you’re traveling from or hosting in a severely impacted area and we can recognize your location and reservation details as outlined below, you may be notified that your reservation automatically qualifies on the reservation details page. If your reservation is eligible under this policy but you do not have a notification, please contact us.”

Call Airbnb:

  • Call us +1-415-800-5959
  • Call us (Toll-free) +1-855-424-7262

Dear hosts, when you go to the Airbnb page you’ll see different countries, links to government offices about travel advisories of that country and about the Coronavirus COVID 19. You need to be informed.

As a host you might be able to cancel a guest if they’re traveling from an affected area and a guest can cancel a reservation as well. When in doubt, check Airbnb’s page for any updates.

Let’s talk about cleaning your vacation rental:

The information I’m sharing is from the latest document dated February 12th from the National Environmental Agency of Singapore. Why Singapore? Because they have the best cleaning document since one of the hotels was infected early on. The document is called Interim Guidelines for Environmental Cleaning and Disinfection of Premises With Transient Exposure to Confirmed Cases(s) of the COVID-19.

The cleaning is for a space where there was a confirmed case present for a short period of time.  Hopefully you’ll not have anyone in your home with COVID-19 but just in case here is how you clean.

Dear hosts right now they have found out that the virus can survive on surfaces of different materials for at least 2 to 3 days. They don’t specify the different materials. Frustrating, I know.

Cleaning your Airbnb.

Getting ready:

  • Before you start cleaning, put on a pair of gloves.
  • Avoid touching your face. Yes, this includes your mouth, nose and eyes.
  • No need to wear a mask unless you don’t feel well.
  • Keep the windows open for ventilation.

Cleaning Products:

Do not mix different cleaning products:

  • Bleach can be used as a cleaning and disinfectant (1 part bleach in 49 parts water or according to instructions). The bleach solution should be fresh and it should be in contact for at least for 10 minutes.
  • If bleach isn’t suitable or available, then alcohol can be used to wipe down surfaces.
  • There is a list of household cleaning products that are effective like Clorox Disinfectant Wipes, Mr. Muscle Magic Cleaner , Clorox, Clean-Up All Purpose cleaner with Bleach, hospital grade wipes and much more.

Products Recommendations from National Environment Agency:


Good Practices:

All surfaces should be sanitised, you have no idea what was touched. Think everything. Use a different set of cleaning equipment for the bathroom. Seek medical attention if you don’t feel well.

Cleaning Your Airbnb for the Coronavirus COVID-19:

  • Mop the floor with the prepared disinfectant or bleach solution. From one corner to the next. This is your first floor clean up.
  • Soak cloths or rags with the bleach or disinfectant solution and wipe everything. From door handles, walls, light switches, blinds, windows. This is deep cleaning, dear hosts.
  • Clean the bathroom with a seperate cloth and brush.
  • You’ll also wash all fabrics, curtains, cushion covers, etc.
  • Now it's the second floor clean up.
  • Throw away all cloths, rags and waste into double trash bags. Remove gloves wash your hands with soap and water.
  • Throw away the gloves into the double lines trash bags.
  • Shower, include your hair and change your clothes, immediately after the clean up.
  • Air out the house.

The National Environmental Agency from Singapore has other cleaning guidelines which I’ll have on my site.

Dear hosts, we don't know what is going to be the outcome of the Coronavirus COVID-19. Information and preparation instead of worry and panic is imperative. Fear and anxiety can lead to discrimination towards people who were in quarantine or towards Chinese or Asian Americans.

Protect yourself, your family and your business… but be smart about it.

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