Coronavirus, News

Coronavirus Updates: Airbnb Shuts Down ‘Party Houses’ For Not Following Pandemic Restrictions

Airbnb is cracking down on so-called “party houses” in Atlanta during the pandemic.
Airbnb is cracking down on so-called “party houses” in Atlanta during the pandemic.
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For the second day in a row, state public health officials have attributed more than 100 new deaths to COVID-19.

Wednesday marks the first time during the pandemic that the Georgia Department of Public Health has added more than 100 new deaths in consecutive days to it’s running tally of coronavirus-related fatalities.

To date, more than 4,400 Georgians have died from complications from COVID-19.

Meanwhile, active hospitalizations remain steady at about 2,800 statewide.

State officials also confirmed another 3,500 new coronavirus infections in the Wednesday data report.

AIRBNB SHUTS DOWN ‘PARTY HOUSES’

Airbnb officials say that more than 50 Atlanta listings have been recently suspended or removed this weekend.

The booking service is cracking down on so-called “party houses” during the pandemic.

Officials say the affected listings had already violated Airbnb’s recent ban on party houses. Hosts had also been warned not to go against local public health mandates.

Ben Breit, Airbnb’s head of trust and safety communications, says the company based the restrictions on orders from Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms, who has mandated more stringent protections than state leaders.

“At the end of the day, we expect our community, both hosts and guests to behave responsibly, and we’re erring on whatever side is stricter, to be honest,” Breit said.

He says many of the violations came from neighbors reporting concerns through a hotline Airbnb established in 2019.

MASTERS TOURNAMENT TO BE HELD WITHOUT SPECTATORS

The Masters Tournament will be held without spectators this year.

The tournament, held at Georgia’s Augusta National Golf Club, had already been pushed back from April to November because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Fred Ridley, chairman of Augusta National Golf Club, said he hoped to be able to have guests and patrons watch the tournament when the Masters was postponed earlier this year.

However, in a statement Wednesday, he said that would be “simply too risky.”

Fans have also been barred from two other events in the U.S. men’s golf Grand Slam–the U.S. Open and the PGA Championship.

The fourth competition, The British Open, was canceled for the first time since World War II.

GEORGIA DOL WORKING OUT PAYMENTS FOR TRUMP’S ORDER

Georgia labor officials hope to find out more this week about how the state plans to pay for an extra $100 a week in unemployment benefits to match $300 in federal funds.

Kersha Cartwright with the Georgia Department of Labor says all states are still figuring out how to implement President Trump’s Executive order.

“We’re working with USDOL on really trying to clarify what the funding mechanism will look like, so until we get that kind of information, we’re just waiting,” Cartwright said.

She says she knows the money will not come from the state’s unemployment trust fund, which has dropped by 80% since the pandemic started.

State officials are looking for other emergency funding and hope to pay out the $400 a week as soon as possible.

Federal dollars previously paid for $600 a week in unemployment.