Alexandria, VA

Tessa Read and Boyd Walker own six Airbnb rentals in Alexandria and had 20 cancellations last week.

Airbnb sent out an email on Saturday to hosts explaining that its extenuating circumstances policy is in effect until April 14, meaning that guests can cancel reservations for full refunds and without paying penalties.

“We had six cancellations on one day, even one who was coming Friday, who canceled just a few hours before they were scheduled to arrive,” Read said. “We are in the same category as other small businesses, like hotels. Even though we’ve offered discounts and are thoroughly cleaning between guests, it’s not helping.”

There are hundreds of Airbnb rentals available in Alexandria, and many have reduced their prices.

Walker said that discounts will be given to any guests officially working with the federal or local government on defeating the virus.

“If someone needs to be here related to this issue, we’d be happy to give them a deeper discount,” Walker said. “Being a small business owner in Old Town, I am very concerned about small businesses being able to survive. When we go out, we eat at the local businesses and not chain restaurants. We don’t want them to close. That would be terribly sad.”

Photo via Boyd Walker

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