Is It Safe to Rent an Airbnb or Vacation Home Right Now?
After months of quarantine consumed with wanderlust? Equal. But even if the world is slowly reopening during COVID-19, is it now safe to rent an Airbnb or vacation rental? We spoke to some experts to get clearer answers to the complicated question.
Can I book a rental house or Airbnb and be safe?
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"It's certainly safe to rent a vacation home this summer," says Dr. Erika Schwartz, M.D. and founder of Evolved Science. And according to Dr. Linda Anegawa, an internist at PlushCare, a virtual primary care platform, prefers a home rental like Airbnb to a hotel room that is likely to house a lot more people. Nevertheless, viruses do not go on vacation, so both doctors emphasize that COVID-19 security measures must still be taken very seriously when booking. This includes what you've already done - wash your hands, don't touch your face, practice social distancing and wear masks - as well as a little elbow grease to do your own deep cleansing (we'll cover that).
This is how you ensure that your rent is at low risk
1. Research how the rent was cleaned
As COVID-19 information continues to evolve, recent research suggests that the virus can remain contagious for up to three hours in the air and can survive up to three days on some surfaces (such as stainless steel and plastic). Dr. However, Schwartz says that the biggest consideration should not be how the place was recently occupied, but rather "how it was disinfected and how many guests were in the past". Conclusion: Before you book, be sure to contact potential hosts so that you can find out whether the previous resident was sick or not during his stay, and not only whether but also how the house in front of you gets cleaned and disinfected.
2. Check this information with CDC
Once you get some information straight from the source, Dr. Anegawa that you ensure that they comply with the official CDC cleaning and disinfection guidelines.
3. Give it 24 hours
Regardless of the delay time between guests, the CDC recommends waiting 24 hours after disinfecting a potentially infected area. Therefore, determine the cleaning date if you can and give it a day.
Ask a host before you book
Are you afraid that if you send a message to your potential hosts, you won't know what to say? No problem - we asked the American Cleaning Institute to consider what tenants should ask before booking if they want to cover all bases. Here's the breakdown.
Is your house professionally cleaned between rentals?
Does your cleaning staff disinfect surfaces around your house? *
Do you have a sufficient supply of cleaning agents such as hand soap, washing-up liquid, disinfectant spray or towels in your device?
Do you have a washer and dryer and a detergent that we can use?
* Note: cleaning and disinfection are not the same. For more information on how to distinguish between the two, see the CDC's Covid 19 FAQ page.
How and what to clean when you get there
To repeat it again: cleaning practices are an important factor when it comes to the risk associated with a particular vacation rental. In recognition of this, Airbnb has updated its cleaning history to better protect both guests and hosts from Covid-19 infection. While these policy changes are reassuring, compliance is still based on the honor system, which of course is not always the most reliable. Since you are not there to confirm to what extent your Airbnb hosts have followed the recommended disinfection procedures, doctors recommend all travelers to take matters into their own hands upon arrival at a rental location.
Bring your own alcohol-based disinfectant
Pack household cleaning products - Dr. Schwartz says any alcohol-based disinfectant should do the trick - and spray off all surfaces as soon as you check in.
Pay attention to "touch-sensitive surfaces"
Dr. Anegawa advises to pay special attention to "touch-sensitive surfaces". What are they, you ask? According to the American Cleaning Institute, hotspots for disinfection as soon as possible include:
Flat surfaces (table or desk)
Bathroom (toilet, faucet, sink)
Remote control or telephone
Handles (drawers, devices, etc.)
Pack your own sheets and towels
Finally, it may be advisable to bring your own clean sheets; Otherwise, plan a load of laundry on the first day so that you can be sure that all towels and bed linen have been washed in warm water and have been thoroughly dried.
Advantages and disadvantages of a COVID 19 vacation
So you've settled in your home ... now what? Cities across the country are gradually reopening, but certain security measures are still in place.
Do: Wear masks in public.
Both experts agree that masks should be worn in public places regardless of where you are. In fact, Anegawa advises travelers to "bring a supply of masks everywhere" - you need one if you want to have access to a cafe for a cup of delicacy made by barista in the morning.
Do: social distance
No matter where you are, social distancing is still the norm. So avoid crowded places. (For example, if the beach is full, go with Plan B and instead look for a nearby hiking trail).
Don't: throw caution into the wind
If a vacation is in sight for you, have a good trip. Simply enjoy your new surroundings without being reckless with yourself or the community you join.
Please note that the information in this story is correct at the time of printing. However, things are evolving and some dates may have changed since the release. Before you book an apartment, find out about the latest recommendations from health authorities such as the CDC and the World Health Organization.
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