This is such a tricky situation to judge. I host long-term guests and the ones who were already here cancelled and left and got full refunds (even for some of the nights they had stayed), despite the fact that their bookings did not fall within the COVID-19 extenuating circumstances, which state, "If a reservation has already begun (the check-in has passed), this extenuating circumstance does not apply."
None of my upcoming bookings (as they were either weeks or months off, the rooms supposedly already fully booked before the cancellations) qualify for extenuating circumstances. Now, if these guests cancel, which likely they will, I am going to lose money, but in theory I would at least get something, i.e. the 30 days due under the long-term cancellation policy.
However, I don't trust Airbnb for a second anymore, after what has happened. They could extend the policy at any time. Even if they don't, they are not following the policy when it comes to refunds. They are refunding guests who don't qualify for extenuating circumstances. I have already had 4.5 months worth of bookings cancelled and fully refunded that did not qualify.
What to do? I messaged the next two long-term guests (both checking in after the 15th April), asking them for an update of their circumstances and plans. This urged them to check with their employer/university. Seems one of them will have to cancel. She accepts the cancellation policy thankfully. Now let's just hope that Airbnb sticks with it.
The second one wants either to cancel or delay her trip. She also understands the cancellation policy and is leaving it to me to decide. While I can't afford to lose a booking, I also can't afford for the room to be empty in the meantime, to hold out for a booking that may be cancelled anyway and fully refunded by Airbnb regardless of their own policies. At least if the guests cancel, I can try to find long-term renters.
Right now, it feels like being stuck between a rock and a hard place (I am sure many of you hosts are in the same position). It is also causing unnecessary conflict between hosts and guests.
Airbnb, FINE, implement a new extenuating circumstances policy for COVID-19, but please STICK TO IT. Stop refunding guests that do not qualify!!
Will they extend the dates that the policy covers? Probably. Does it matter? Probably not, because they will refund any guest that asks, regardless of if their dates are covered or not.