Short-stay rental giant Airbnb has toughened its booking rules ahead of New Year’s Eve in a bid to crack down on people throwing parties in defiance of coronavirus restrictions, as well as to try to limit the spread of Covid-19.

From Thursday, Airbnb users lacking positive reviews will be barred from booking one-night stays in entire-home listings on December 31 in Australia, Canada, France, Mexico, Spain, the UK and US. 

Customers will also need to tick a box when booking to specifically promise that they will not throw a NYE bash, the San Francisco-based firm said in a statement on Thursday.

The company added that it would honor already booked one-night reservations, as previous data shows that those looking to throw parties at Airbnb properties are more likely to book in December.

Airbnb’s rules were updated in August to include a worldwide ban on parties and gatherings of 16 or more people due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, with those who flout the guidelines potentially liable for legal action. 

It took similar action for Halloween this year, banning all one-night reservations in entire-home listings in the US and Canada in a bid to stamp out parties. The company said the move went “successfully.”

As part of the NYE measures, Airbnb will also prevent guests who don’t have a history of positive reviews booking close to their own homes.

The company said it would also be operating a “virtual command center” on NYE, with “trained safety agents” on call throughout the night, should any issues” arise. 

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