By Betty Yu

SAN FRANCISCO (KPIX) – After last year’s deadly party in Orinda, Airbnb is introducing a ban on one-night bookings Halloween weekend, because it says it’s a matter of public safety and public health.

The San Francisco-based online rental company says the majority of its guests are respectful, but large parties have been a problem for some time.

Last Halloween, an unauthorized party advertised on social media as an “Airbnb Mansion Party” in Orinda, left 5 people dead and some 100 people running for their lives.

The company’s new policy will also cancel any existing one-night reservations for Halloween weekend, and reimburse guests.

Neighbors in Orinda say things have been very quiet since that deadly night of chaos.

“That’s the correct policy, they should be really careful, there were a lot of weird things going on,” said Scott Jaw, of Orinda. “And this year especially because of the pandemic.”

On its website Airbnb states, “In the midst of a generational crisis, all of us have a role to play in protecting public health and slowing the spread of COVID-19.”

The company formally banned parties at its listings globally in August of this year, capping the number of people allowed at 16.

Longtime resident Lester Soo applauds its latest policy, but has reservations.

“If there’s a way, there’s always somebody who will figure out something,” he said. “They might say ‘okay it’s a one day thing, I’ll rent it for two days.'”

Airbnb said regarding two-night minimum stays, it is also taking additional steps to deter parties, including restricting last-minute bookings by guests without a history of positive reviews on its site.

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