Many medical workers are working around the clock to fight off the deadly COVID-19 pandemic. Medical facilities around the world are working tirelessly to save anyone who contracted the pandemic. As such, many of them are stretched to their maximum capacity. Doctors and nurses around the world regularly deal with fatigue and stress. As such, they also become vulnerable to the coronavirus that causes the dreaded disease.
All around the globe, health workers and staff have been succumbing to COVID-19 due to exhaustion and weakened immune system. As such, it is important to lessen any physical and mental burden to health workers so they can continue working in tip-top shape. To that end, Airbnb has launched a new program to help medical front liners. Read this article for a complete guide to Airbnb’s Frontline Stays!
Airbnb’s Frontline Stays is a new initiative by Airbnb to support medical professionals and health care workers. Under the new program, Airbnb aims to provide free housing to medical workers so they have a place to stay while away from their homes.
This new program will connect willing Airbnb hosts to 100,000 doctors and medical staff. Hosts may sign-up to provide their physical spaces to them. All fees incurred will be waived through this new initiative. The frontline stays program will also adhere to strict social, safety, and hygiene measures to avoid contamination and spread of the disease.
Learn more about the initiative:
Who qualifies for Frontline Stays?
There are certain qualifications for those included in Airbnb’s Frontline Stays initiative:
• Medical professionals who primarily treat COVID-19 patients are qualified for the initiative.
• First-aid responders and frontline healthcare staff are all included for the program.
The initiative is primarily for medical workers who wanted to be nearer to the hospital or medical facilities where they work. Alternatively, those who wanted to self-isolate themselves before returning home qualify for Airbnb’s Frontline Stays.
Signing up for Frontline Stays is easy. If you still don’t have an Airbnb account, now is the time to sign up and avail of the benefits offered by the new initiative. Follow these steps to sign-up for Airbnb’s Frontline Stays programme:
Log in and go to Airbnb’s page for COVID-19 responders. The page will brief you on what to expect and what you should know before proceeding.
Answer any questions about your line of work. It is important to answer the questions in details since Airbnb will use your answer to assess your qualification.
Book a stay once invited by Airbnb. If you are in an area where someone can host, you’ll be notified immediately so you can proceed with booking a stay.
Wait for Airbnb to process your booking. A verification process using the information you provided in step 2 will be done to ensure a seamless process for you and your host.
Can I host a frontline stay?
Cleaning and disinfecting requirements
Anyone can become a host and participate in Airbnb’s frontline stay initiative. Any host must strictly follow the cleaning and disinfecting guidelines provided by Airbnb to minimize the risk of infection and transmission. Airbnb also expects hosts to follow a 72-hour buffer between reservation so they can properly clean and disinfect their spaces for their next guests. Here are some of Airbnb’s guidelines for hosts who need to clean and disinfect their spaces:
Wear a personal protective gear while cleaning and disinfecting.
Wash your hands before and after the process.
Clean surfaces and areas first before disinfecting them. Cleaning and disinfecting are two separate processes that should be carried out always to ensure a healthy and safe space. Cleaning means removing any dirt and germs from surfaces, while disinfecting refers to the process of killing germs with cleaning solutions designed for the job.
Use the right disinfectant. Cleaning solutions that contain at least 70% alcohol or diluted bleach are effective at killing coronavirus.
Clean any surfaces and areas thoroughly. Frequently touched surfaces like light switches, doorknobs, remote controls, and faucet handles must be given special attention while cleaning. Hosts should also pay attention sofas, rugs, drapes, and other soft, porous surfaces.
Wash all linens and bed sheets at the highest heat setting possible.
Take a moment to check expiration dates while restocking your supplies. Some cleaning solutions and personal hygiene items have set dates before they are not good to use anymore. Always check for expiration dates to ensure you and your guests’ safety.
Line trash cans. It is always a good idea to line any trash cans in your space with paper or plastic bags so you can easily remove any waste with little to no contact at all.
Dispose of or wash your cleaning supplies. After cleaning and disinfecting, you should properly wash and disinfect your cleaning supplies so any contaminants that stick to the surface will be eliminated. For disposable supplies, properly dispose of them to avoid the spread of any harmful bacteria.
Airbnb has a printable checklist that you can follow to clean and disinfect your place properly.
Social distancing guidelines and policies from the government
Aside from the aforementioned guidelines, social distancing guidelines must also be met by the host and the guests staying at the place. Hosts need to maintain a six-feet distance away from their guests if in-person transactions are needed. However, if these physical transactions are not required, Airbnb encourages every host to use self-check-in methods instead. Hosts are discouraged from visiting their place during a guest’s stay unless required.
Hosting is also affected by any orders coming from the government. You should check out any special provisions and rules being implemented by your local government and ensure compliance as always. Some areas require additional eligibility requirements too.
The pricing for frontline stays depends on the hosts themselves. Airbnb encourages hosts to offer their spaces for free to avoid unnecessary burden to medical workers who will be shouldering the costs from their own pockets. For those who can’t offer their spaces for free, they are encouraged to give out discounts instead. Discounts will be applied only to reservations made by medical workers, and any other discounts by the host will not apply. First 100,000 reservations from healthcare professionals will be free of charge.
Controlling the booking experience
You can control the people who can book your place. Airbnb recommends you to turn off the “Instant Book” option if you wanted a guest to seek approval first before finalizing reservation. If you host a place with a request-to-book option, you can accept or decline anyone as long as it doesn’t violate Airbnb’s nondiscrimination policy.
Airbnb also lets you see if a guest booking for a place is a COVID-19 responder. There’s a special designation for these medical workers which you can easily spot regardless of the booking experience.
For this important initiative, Airbnb is partnering with various organizations across the world. These international organizations include International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies, International Rescue Committee, and International Medical Corps. The company is also partnering with local government and emergency management agencies to make its initiative work.
Airbnb has partnered with International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies to provide its hosts and guests with safety resources. These resources are available online for anyone to see and read. These include guidelines for administering first aid, as well as safety and fire prevention tips. You can view the resources here.
The company has also partnered with International Rescue Committee and International Medical Corps. International Rescue Committee is a non-profit, humanitarian aid and relief organization that primarily helps refugees and individuals displaced by wars and disasters. Meanwhile, International Medical Corps provides emergency medical services to those who are affected by disasters or conflicts. Both organizations are active in providing support to individuals affected by the COVID-19 pandemic.
Airbnb has also partnered with local governments to support medical workers. Here are some of them:
Direct support is offered by the company to NHS hospitals and staff members. Medical responders in the UK also get free places to stay.
Airbnb partnered with Barcelona Official Doctors Association to facilitate easy access of its members to the frontline stays initiative.
As the pilot country for the frontline stays initiative, Italy has more than 3,000 homes available to host healthcare professionals. The initiative has expanded to include professionals who need to isolate themselves while performing their work.
The Minister of Housing in France has announced the availability of more than 5,000 listings by hosts.
In the US, Airbnb has partnered with Sutter Health to help frontline workers from Northern California find temporary accommodations.
Are there any alternatives to Airbnb’s Frontline Stays?
There are many alternatives to Airbnb’s frontline stays. Medical workers should these options if they would rather book a more traditional accommodation or if they can’t find any Airbnbs within their area. Some of the alternative options will offer more amenities, while some are under the direct supervision of the local government. Here are these options:
These hotels offer special deals and packages that will suit anyone who need to isolate themselves. These deals are usually discounts for long night stays, and usually bundle extra amenities as a compliment to guests. Normal room rates may also be halved by the hotel depending on the packages availed. Here are some of hotels and their corresponding packages:
Park Lane and Dorsett (Hong Kong SAR) Both of these hotels offer long-stay packages targeted towards individuals who must self-isolate for seven days and more. Dorsett, for example, has a 14-day package that starts at HKD 6,888 (USD 889). Computed per night, the room rates are almost half of the normal nightly rates for the hotel. Usually, rooms at Dorsett starts at HKD 1,030 while the per-night rate of the package starts at HKD 492. Meanwhile, Park Lane Hong Kong offers discounted packages. Long-stay packages starts at HKD 800 (USD 103) per night. Usual room rates for the hotel starts at HKD 1,527, which is almost double the nightly rate of the package.
Novotel Sydney Brighton Beach (Sydney, Australia) Self-isolating individuals in Sydney can book at Novotel Sydney Brighton Beach and enjoy suites with balconies that overlook Sydney or Botany Bay. Guests have the option to choose from king and twin rooms, or spa suites with separate family rooms. Medical workers staying at the hotel can have their fresh linens and amenities delivered on their doorsteps by request. Accor Plus members can also enjoy benefits such as 50% off on bookings lasting for 14 days or more.
Government quarantine centers
Some local governments have partnered with hotels to convert some of them into temporary quarantine centers. These quarantine centers act as a place where suspected persons are confined for further investigation. Countries facing shortages in medical facilities and temporary shelters have resorted to converting public establishments and private hotels into makeshift quarantine centers to meet up the demand for more facilities. Local governments are also turning these hotels into quarantine centers for persons returning from abroad. Examples of these countries include:
The government of Malaysia has converted some of the hotels in Kuala Lumpur into quarantine facilities for individuals returning from other countries. These 31 hotels provide free accommodation to anyone who must self-isolate themselves. Meals are provided by the government as well. Individuals staying at these hotels, however, are not allowed to go outside of their rooms or use any of the hotel’s facilities. Social distancing measures are also strictly observed within these hotels. Some of these hotels include:
Best Western Hotel PJ
Dorsett Grand Subang, Subang Jaya
Hilton Garden Inn Puchong
Hilton Petaling Jaya
Cosmo Hotel KL
Four Points by Sheraton KL Chinatown
Holiday Inn Express KL City Centre
Hotel Royal KL
Hotel Plaza Grand KL
Ramada Suites KLCC KL
Swiss Inn KL
The Pearl KL
In coordination with Israel Defence Force, some hotels have converted their rooms and facilities into makeshift quarantine centers for people with COVID-19 and those returning from abroad. Ten hotels are already up to the task of housing people required to self-isolate. Generally, there are little to no restrictions on these hotels. Isolated people can go outside their rooms and take a stroll in their hotels’ walkways. Some of the hotels even allow small gatherings. Food is also provided for free.
A great help to medical responders
Airbnb’s frontline stays initiative is a great help to medical workers and healthcare professionals who need a place to stay away from their homes and near the facilities where they work. Airbnb stays serve as a terrific option for any medical responders who wanted to save some money and find a place that will make them feel at home. As more hosts sign-up for the initiative, doctors, nurses, and medical staff will surely have more roof to stay for the night.
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