Airbnb is now allowed to operate under lockdown alert level 2 after launching its own health and safety protocols in South Africa in a bid to persuade government to let them operate.

At a media briefing on August 19, in response to Tourism Update’s question on Airbnb, Tourism Minister Mmamoloko Kubayi-Ngubane said: “All accommodations are allowed and the directives we have issued in terms of compliance apply to everybody, with no exceptions.”

She added: “If you are to book an accommodation, the people who are hosting you are expected to comply with all the directions that we have issued. Keeping social distances, keeping records and ensuring that masks are worn. If they are serving breakfast, they must ensure that no more than 50% of floor space is occupied. There are no restrictions as to what type of accommodations can operated under level 2.”

Country manager of Airbnb in sub-Saharan Africa, Velma Corcoran, told Tourism Update:  “This is welcome news for local families who rely on hosting as an economic lifeline and will get South Africans and the local economy moving safely again.”

She highlighted that hosts were already backed by the company’s industry-leading cleaning standards, which have been awarded a Safe Travels seal by the World Trade and Tourism Council, and stand ready to welcome guests back into their homes and communities.”

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