Coronavirus: How Airbnb Hosts Can Protect Their Guests and Cleaners
by Ben Nicolas
on Monday, March 9th, 2020 at 9:00am.
With the coronavirus spreading rapidly, those who host Airbnb or other short stay rental properties probably have more reason to worry than the rest of us.
For one, many people are canceling their travel plans in light of the virus spreading, which means a loss of income. But the other side of the coin means allowing people traveling from all over the world into your property and potentially contaminating it. A sort of "damned if you do, damned if you don't" situation.
If you do decide to continue renting out your space during this time, then you're probably wondering how you can protect your guests, your cleaners, and property managers from being exposed to the virus. Keep reading to learn more.
What is COVID-19 and Should You Be Worried?
It's likely that you've been taking in a lot of news coverage about coronavirus, or COVD-19, so you probably have a good grasp on the bullet points regarding the illness. For more information on it, though, you can check out our other article here that lays out the basics.
One thing you probably haven't heard much about is how worried you should be about Airbnb guests contaminating a property; will it put your cleaners and future guests at risk?
The most concerning part about this virus is how much we don't know about it. One of these uncertainties is how long the virus can live on a surface, which is the main concern when talking about your cleaners and future guests, as they're likely never coming into direct contact with potentially infected guests.
Other strains of coronavirus can live on a surface for up to two days at room temperature. Now, it's unclear whether that's also true for COVID-19, but at the moment, it's probably best to operate as if it is.
That means your cleaners should be thoroughly cleaning the space (though, that should be true with or without the threat of a virus!) so it's disinfected for the next guests. Since your cleaners are the ones who are actually going to be coming into contact with potentially dangerous germs, they need to take extra care to protect themselves.
How Your Cleaners Should Protect Themselves
Though medical masks are selling out in stores, the CDC doesn't actually recommend them in these circumstances. COVID-19 is not an airborne virus--your cleaner won't get infected by breathing inside your Airbnb even if the person with the virus just left. Cleaning with a mask on won't protect them against any germs that might be in the house.
Instead, it's more important that they wear gloves. They should put on the gloves before they enter, so they can be sure they're not making skin contact with any surfaces, including the front door knob. They should be very careful not to accidentally touch their face with their gloved hand.
Another important thing to keep in mind is protecting your Airbnb from your cleaners. Many people who actually have the virus don't have severe symptoms and could be under the impression that they're just dealing with a cold. Communicate to them that if they are experiencing any symptoms like coughing, trouble breathing, and/or fever, they should err on the side of caution and not clean the house.
Tips for the Cleaning Process
While coronavirus is on top of everyone's minds right now, there's plenty of other germs that could be infecting your property at any given time, so your cleaners should always be disinfecting thoroughly. However, now's a great time to make sure that they are using disinfectant cleaners, because not all cleaners actually kill germs.
Cleaners should be wiping down any part of the house that would likely be touched by the guest like doorknobs, light switches, thermostats, electronics, clothing irons, etc. Also, they need to put every dish and utensil in the washer, even if they're clean and still in the cabinet or drawer. Just because the guest didn't eat off of them, doesn't mean they weren't touching it. If this seems like too big of a job, consider scaling back on the amount of flatware you make available to the guest.
Dealing with Coronavirus as an Airbnb Host
In the dawn of this new coronavirus, it's a challenging time to be an Airbnb host. The general public are taking extra precautions and limiting travel as the virus spreads. But, life goes on and sometimes taking a trip is unavoidable, so you should do everything you can to protect guests--and your cleaners--in whatever way you can.
Do you own a property you use for short term rentals that you can't afford if your reservations dip? Then now's a good time to consider selling it before the mortgage payments become too much of a burden. Request a consultation with us today!