The NSW government has just imposed a new restriction on the state, making it illegal to book out Airbnb residencies or any other similar short-term accommodation stays.
The law has been put in place just in time for the Easter long weekend, when friends and family usually get together and celebrate. But this time around, the authorities urge people to self-isolate, in their efforts to curb the spread of COVID-19 to the wider community.
“The government’s advice to prevent the spread of COVID-19 has been very clear: stay in your local area, stay in your home. This is NOT the time to travel or visit family and friends”: NSW Minister for Public Regulation Kevin Anderson warns against Airbnb vacations.
However, there are a few exemptions to the new restrictions. People are allowed to stay away from home for work-related reasons, education purposes or to look after someone who is sick.
“The provision of short-term accommodation is often critical, particularly for our frontline health workers,” the NSW Government said in a statement.
A number of issues have also been raised about the controversial advertising of properties as “self-isolation packages” or “working from home bases”. As a result, short-term letting agencies have seen a cancellation rate increase of 90%.
Kevin Anderson’s spokesperson says that while “it isn’t illegal for them (Airbnb hosts) to advertise the property,” guests cannot “get there without breaking the law”.
Under the emergency ministerial directive, anyone who leaves the house without a “reasonable excuse” could spend up to six months in prison and face a fine of up to $11,000!
So if you had plans to head up the coast to an Airbnb with friends or family this long weekend, think again cause you might have to get creative from home this Easter. Instead of a home-stay abroad, put your spare time to use and turn your home into a modified Willy Wonker chocolate factory! You could get pinned by Augustus Gloop if you don’t stay inside…