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Airbnb expands refunds policy in coronavirus crisis

Most American bookings can be canceled due to coronavirus concerns.

Airbnb bookings throughout the United States now can be canceled because of new coronavirus concerns with full refunds and without penalties or fees, during a broad expansion of the vacation rental home marketing company’s “extenuating circumstances” policy.

The extenuating circumstances policy also applies to people who have booked stays in Italy, South Korea or mainland China through Airbnb, provided the reservations were made by Friday, and the stays are to start on April 1 or later, the company announced.

The extenuating circumstances policy also applies to travelers coming from the United States who have reservations in the Schengen Area of Europe — essentially the 26 countries of the European Union, where travel to the United States will be banned tonight, under an executive order from President Donald Trump. The policy applies to reservations that were been made on or before Wednesday, the day Trump announced the ban, for travel between March 13 to April 13.

In addition, Airbnb expanded its definition of extenuating circumstances to people traveling elsewhere on the globe, when people are directly impacted by the coronavirus or by government or travel industry changes that have come in response to the new virus.

The extenuating circumstances policy can be followed by people who are diagnosed with COVID-19. It also can be pursued by someone who cannot get to their destinations because of newly imposed government restrictions or lack of transportation availability, due to the new coronavirus outbreak. It also extends the extenuating circumstance policy for  travelers who “have to perform medical or disease control duties in connection with the COVID-19 outbreak.”

“We will continue to assess the situation and will provide further information as matters progress,” the company stated in a news release announcing the new policies. “We strongly advise all travelers to carefully review and select appropriate cancellation policies according to personal needs and the outlook on COVID-19.”

Written By

Scott Powers is an Orlando-based political journalist with 30+ years’ experience, mostly at newspapers such as the Orlando Sentinel and the Columbus Dispatch. He covers local, state and federal politics and space news across much of Central Florida. His career earned numerous journalism awards for stories ranging from the Space Shuttle Columbia disaster to presidential elections to misplaced nuclear waste. He and his wife Connie have three grown children. Besides them, he’s into mystery and suspense books and movies, rock, blues, basketball, baseball, writing unpublished novels, and being amused. Email him at

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