Airbnb eased its cancellation policies to prevent customers from being affected during the coronavirus pandemic. The company already contemplated cancellations due to other Mitigating Circumstances, but with this measure it starts to allow cancellations without penalties for appointments made on March 14th or before this date, with check-in until April 14th.
The company recognizes that the measure may have negative impacts on the owners of accommodation registered on the platform, but believes that "a reasonable balance has to be found" between harm and "consumer well-being".
Remember that travel is being discouraged by governments and international organizations. The United States has banned flights from Europe for a period of 30 days and Portugal will decide to implement a state of emergency next Wednesday.
In this case, Airbnb was at greater risk if it did not take any action regarding its cancellation policies. Since there are already thousands of canceled flights around the world, preventing consumers from flying to their destinations, the repercussions could be greater if there was no way to compensate the injured people.