Airbnb restricts English bookings again for second lockdown

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LONDON (Reuters) - Home rental firm Airbnb said it would restrict bookings in England as the country entered its second national lockdown on Thursday, adding only those with legal exemptions could use the platform to book long-term stays.

Government guidance says that overnight stays and holidays away from a person’s primary residence are not allowed under the new lockdown, with limited exceptions.

The lockdown is scheduled to end on Dec. 2, but ministers have suggested it could be extended.

Airbnb blocked British bookings on its platform for the vast majority of customers in April, after Prime Minister Boris Johnson had introduced a national lockdown to contain the first wave of infections, and on Thursday the company said it was re-introducing restrictions.

“We’ve heard from hosts who want to help everyone follow the rules and stay safe. That is why we are again introducing temporary booking restrictions on Airbnb,” said Patrick Robinson, Director of Public Policy at Airbnb.

“We will closely monitor government guidance and keep the policy under review and we look forward to when hosts can safely reopen their doors to guests.”

Under the policy, guests booking legally exempt stays will still be allowed. There are legal exemptions for work trips, or temporary accommodation for those who are homeless, vulnerable, moving house or attending a funeral.

Reporting by Alistair Smout; editing by Stephen Addison