SOUTH LOOP — Airbnb banned parties on their hosts’ properties Thursday in an effort to stem large gatherings being held during the coronavirus pandemic.
The new regulations imposed worldwide include an occupancy cap at 16 guests at large properties and a ban on party listings on properties.
Additionally, to further disincentivize parties, Airbnb announced anyone caught throwing a party could be banned from the platform and even sued.
The changes follow concerns of Airbnb parties contributing to the spread of coronavirus and other problems. There was a shooting last week at a Wicker Park Airbnb.
The regulations are on top of other rules implemented last year and earlier this year including a ban on “party houses” or Airbnb listings only to throw large parties. The service also introduced a 24/7 hotline to help enforce the ban. There is also a new restriction on Airbnb users under 25 with less than three positive reviews who try to rent locally. Those users are still able to book outside of their local area.
Chicago has also been battling against large house parties, including threatening fines up to $5,000.
The City of Chicago’s Department of Business Affairs and Consumer Protection launched a new task force earlier this month aimed at preventing mass gatherings and uses 311 and 911 complaints as well as social media to track gatherings and disperse them.
Chicago Police Department Supt. David Brown said earlier this year at a press conference that, “As silly as that sounds, you could be arrested for having a party in this COVID-19 environment,” Brown said. “Anyone who holds these large parties will be held accountable.”
Mayor Lori Lightfoot also warned people in May not to throw house parties.
“Don’t be stupid. Don’t come out. Don’t advertise on social media. We are watching you and we are gonna take decisive action,” she said. “And this is how it’s gonna be: We will shut you down, we will cite you and, if we need to, we will arrest you and we will take you to jail. Period. Don’t make us treat you like a criminal.”