Responsible hosts - Corona virus

Hi, for a couple of days I have this scenario in my head: what if I get a guest who is infected and sneezes all over my place and then I go and clean up and I become infected and then I go to work and sneeze in the subway, or the supermarket or at a gathering, party whatever and I infect a bunch of other people? Shall I call Airbnb and cancel my reservations until this thing dies down? I don’t even think I can. To a certain extent I can avoid crowds. What else I as a responsible host can do? I need your opinions.

My feeling (with a background in biological sciences and statistics) is that there is a bit of a media-generated panic taking place. The chances of you catching this virus are pretty remote. You’re much more likely to be injured or killed in your car or (if you live in the US) to be shot by somebody - does consideration of these odds stop you going out every day?


What else I as a responsible host can do? STOP PANICKING!!! Shutting down your business because there is a virus “out there somewhere” is just ridiculous.

Chicken Little said “The Sky is falling! We’re all gonna die!” But of course it wasn’t.

Media has hyped this 'way beyond the pale. Not to say that thousands haven’t died, and many more will die. BUT. The chances of you getting this, let alone dying from it are much reduced unless you have a compromised immune system.

Wash your hands
Keep hands away from face
Wear gloves when cleaning
Use cleaning agents that kill viruses, not bacteria
Avoid crowds where possible


Exactly. It’s interesting to see the differing approaches of the mainstream media in the U.K. and in Spain.

The U.K., in my opinion, is sensationalising the whole issue, whereas here in Spain it’s far more restrained.

U.K. media showing images of shops cleaned out by panic buying of dried goods etc, but according to someone close to me who works for one of the major supermarkets, these are vary isolated incidents and in reality there isn’t anywhere near the level of “panic buying” the tabloid newspapers would have us believe.

Lurid headlines in the U.K., factual reporting in Spain. Suits me. I just wish I didn’t have to constantly use Google translate on the big words :slight_smile:



@KenH, I am not afraid I’m going to die. Where in my message did I say that? I am a healthy middle aged adult. I didn’t stock up on anything. I am just trying to prevent this thing from spreading. Im a software engineer. I thought that some of you might have backgrounds in biology or something and might offer a different perspective.

1 Like

How about when you go clean. Enter the apartment with mask, gloves and sanitize the apartment. Spend more time cleaning, extra.

Better instead of closing your business.


Would that include The Daily Skiddy News? The only mainstream media I read is The Guardian/Observer and to date, it’s well balanced.

What I am most dreading :open_mouth: is Mr Joan’s employer telling staff to WFH for the foreseeable, unless they absolutely need to meet clients in London. It was bad enough when he bust his collar bone at Christmas. Seven bloody weeks!

Even without guests, he creates twice the cleaning.


I work in the health sector. The best things you can do to minimise the risk of you encountering the virus is

  1. Wash your hands or use a hand washing gel when entering and leaving buildings including your home
  2. Don’t bother with publicly available masks - complete waste of time and worse than that can actually make matter worse as moisture and bacteria collects in these masks. (Health and care workers have completely different masks that actually stop bacteria and viruses from entering)
  3. Do not rub your eyes, nose, mouth if you haven’t washed your hands
  4. Have tissues on hand when out and at home use them when you cough or sneeze, dispose of immediately and safely. Wash your hands.
  5. Avoid enclosed crowded areas such as sporting events, aeroplanes, gigs

I agree this ridiculous media coverage particularly in the US, UK, Australia etc is sensationalising things to a ridiculous level

In low risk areas such as the UK or US you are much more likely to die from flu if you are worried about virus infection @adrienne12

In the US guns are the second biggest killer of children with enough children to fill a jumbo jet being shot dead every month.

As a parent, if I lived in the US, I would be far more worried about this, than a virus I have very little chance of catching and even if I do, it is very unlikely to be fatal. (and I am from a high risk group as I have asthma).

@adrienne12 you can put your listing on hold if that makes you feel more comfortable. You can speak to Airbnb and cancel all your bookings (although you may incur penalties)

You are much, much more likely to pick up the virus in your supermarket , at a party, or on the subway than you are from a guest in your home.


(In home host here) I have contacted both of my upcoming guest reservations for this week in light of two positive Covid-19 cases in our area. I live in central New Hampshire, and we had a doctor who works for Dartmouth Hitchcock Medical Center return from a trip to Italy, and was confirmed positive. He was instructed to to self quarantine at home, but decided to attend a social event Friday evening, at a public venue, resulting in positive case #2 (so far). They’ve instructed 20 individuals who had close contact with #1 to self quarantine and be monitored. The venue hired a professional company to come in to fully disinfect the premises.

The past two days after work I’ve attempted to purchase disinfectants. Our area has no isopropyl alcohol, bleach, Lysol spray, disinfecting wipes, hand sanitizer, etc. Even the everyday liquid hand soap was nearly gone. I’d already increased my level of cleaning and disinfecting at my home and my small retail business for cold/flu season, and am now nearly out of disinfectants. I am certainly not in panic mode, and have a strong immune system; I feel sure that even if I’m exposed, I’d be fine. It’s my duty, however, to provide a safe environment for my guests, and with my supplies of disinfectants nearly out, I think shutting down my March calendar is the best/safest move.

Both of my guests have agreed to cancel, and I am offering a full refund. I did contact an Airbnb rep to explain the circumstances, and they will be returning all fees to the guest, as well.


The responsible move it to cancel your reservations and shut down if you catch it.

In the scenario you describe, you are much more likely to catch it on the subway, the supermarket, or a gathering, than from your Airbnb guests.

1 Like

I was just chatting last night with a fellow host in Marfa (3 hours away) and with whom I’ve become friendly. We were thinking that if Americans followed the kind of safety protocol they are following now every winter we would have far fewer cases of deadly flu and annoying colds. I even wondered if the flu death rate might decline during this current event.

In any case I feel badly for all the folks who are going to suffer directly or indirectly. Situations like @Tishiekate’s are especially infuriating because that fellow’s behavior was completely avoidable. I also feel badly for folks who are finding it hard to get supplies. I always have a deep supply of paper towels, TP, soap, etc. which I learned from my Depression era mother. My Costco had bleach yesterday but not rubbing alcohol. @Tishiekate, vodka will work. I got a 1.75 liter 80 proof bottle yesterday for $9. You can make your own sanitizing sprays and gels with vodka, tea tree oil and if you want a gel, aloe vera. (Edit: vodka won’t work. CV needs 60% alcohol content)

March has usually been one of my best months due to spring break travel and I just had 3 weeks closed so I’m not shutting down unless I get sick or one of my guests tells me they turned up with CV19.


I just googled that today. Aloe vera and alcohol. I have lots of vodka (gave up drinking for Lent. Clearly my timing stinks).

Wash, wash, wash. Bleach is your friend, too. use gloves. don’t shake hands.

Be sensible.

He should be outed for being a menace to the community!! What arrogance!!!

1 Like

@Joan :slight_smile: I know what you mean. :slight_smile: I used to have one of those.

Thank you Helsi, this I didn’t know. I will clean the house with disposable gloves, ski goggles and wash my hands many many times per day.

What that guy did is horrible! And he is a doctor! The thing is I have a guest right now who came to stay for a Home and garden show. So he’ll be exposed to lots of crowds. I myself am taking dance classes (a variety of them Argentine tango included, where you dance chest to chest) and I am invited to a couple of parties. Should I cancel it all just as precaution? Although as I said, we don’t have any case in PA yet, but people travel and we will have soon, I’m sure.

@Tishiekate can you buy TP and whatever supplies from Amazon and have them delivered?

I can get that, no doubt, and do have tea tree oil! Thanks!

And we are all just shaking our heads here over this guy’s decision. And being a medical professional, on top of it? It’s really unbelievable. It’s the start of a good book or movie script . . .

1 Like

What a complete idiot. Can’t believe a health professional could be that stupid :frowning:

1 Like

Well it’s fairly logical. In my case we only have a few guests at our home. In a supermarket there are hundreds or thousands of people, at a party there could be a hundred or more and in a subway many thousands travel every day.

The more people in close proximity the more the risk (although the risk is still incredibly low in most areas/countries) apart from Italy, Iran, China and other identified high risk spots.

So many people are more ego driven than rational driven. People mostly do what they want to do, without regard for others.


I think you’ve taken a practical approach. It’s too bad the selfish man who left quarantine couldn’t be held financially responsible for all the livelihoods that he has affected. Hosts and guests have different levels of risk aversion and have to make plans accordingly. In “gray areas” I would inform the guest of the facts and let he or she decide without penalty.

I bet he could be sued.

Not sure about the legal part. If the host was on the list of people notified for being exposed by him, there might be a stronger argument.