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French authorities tell Airbnb to automatically report lockdown rule breakers to police

France demands popular tech booking companies tell authorities about their users' travel decisions and movements if they violate lockdown.

The French government wants rental platforms such as Airbnb to do more to ensure tenants follow COVID-19 lockdown measures. This news came shortly after police officers discovered a clandestine gathering, in a property rented via Airbnb, that was in violation of the country’s strict COVID-19 rules.

Authorities want Airbnb to report to police and get tech platforms involved in their strict enforcement.

Marlène Schiappa, the Ministry of Interior’s Minister Delegate in charge of citizenship, speaking to Radio France, said that there has been “354 festive gatherings in private spaces and sometimes places that have been rented” since mid-December, despite the apparent health crisis caused by the pandemic. As a result, she said she met with rental platforms “to see what measures they have taken” to ascertain that COVID-19 measures were being followed.

“There were sometimes parties in homes that the police thought were rented through the Airbnb platform, so it’s very important for us to work with all the platforms,” said the Minister Delegate. She continued to say that she held a virtual meeting with “platforms such as Airbnb, Booking, Gîtes de France, to see what measures they have taken to inform people who use these platforms.”

Schiappa believes these platforms could do more to prevent the violation of coronavirus rules. She advised setting up a criteria for admission. For example, they could ask people renting a large apartment what they plan to do in it.

She also suggested that rental platforms should assist the police by reporting violations of rules.

“When someone rents a very large Parisian apartment, it is important that the platforms can contact them, share with them the sanitary measures, including better working with the police services,” Schiappa added.

She referenced to a recent incident where police discovered a large gathering in an apartment rented through Airbnb. The officers on the scene were denied access to the apartment and had to wait until the party ended to issue fines.

She reiterated that these platforms were being allowed to operate “because there are, for example, people who work in other regions who need accommodation, or people who are booking vacations for the summer.”

On how she would react if she discovered a party in her neighborhood, she said:

“I would try to communicate with people to remind them of the sanitary measures. You can always ring the bell and talk to each other. And then of course, I would appeal to the authorities to put an end to this rally.”

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