Airbnb has worked with its hosts around the world to launch a new programme offering 100,000 properties to frontline workers amid the coronavirus pandemic.
Through the Frontline Stays initiative, thousands of key workers such as medical staff can book to stay in Airbnb accommodation in 160 countries.
"We’re proud to share that our incredible community of generous hosts have offered 100,000 places to stay for people responding to the pandemic," Airbnb said in a statement.
Airbnb has pledged to waive all fees for the first 100,000 stays booked through the initiative.
"Through this programme, frontline staff can book both free and paid stays in 160 countries and regions, with hosts in Paris, New York City and London each offering over 2,000 places to stay in their cities for those doing lifesaving work."
Of the system, Airbnb explains: "Frontline responders can now submit their professional information and housing needs, and when Airbnb has reviewed their information and has sufficient eligible stays in a region, we will send those eligible responders an email invitation providing access to search and book places to stay," adding, "hosts will be able to see that their guest is an eligible frontline worker."
It comes as the UK restricts all Airbnb bookings to key workers and “essential stays” only. In the UAE, however, the Instant Book function is still working, which means that customers – not necessarily just key workers – can book to stay in Airbnb accommodation without host approval.
There is a disclaimer that reads: "Check travel restrictions before booking. The health and safety of our communities come first. Please follow government guidelines and travel only if it's essential."
The National has reached out to Airbnb representatives in the UAE for comment.