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The rent-a-room-by-the-hour model has gotten a professional overhaul during coronavirus.
A relatively new app, Globe, which launched last year, has been booming since lockdown orders have gone into effect — leaving many desperate for some alone time.
According to its website, Globe was designed to offer a “private oasis in your neighborhood” by allowing people to rent out quiet spaces by the hour.
The app, which was founded in San Francisco, is available in cities around the world, like New York, which has seen some of the fastest growth and now has a more than 10,000-person waiting list, New York Post reports. And since the COVID-19 crisis, which has forced people to spend copious amounts of time sheltering in place, users have increased by 25,000 worldwide.
Though it was created initially to offer people a space to get some peace and quiet between meetings, it has since shifted during the pandemic to a place for those in cramped houses to get some work done.
“‘I have a bunch of roommates,’ ‘I don’t have a desk,’ ‘I want to go somewhere to bang out that core call,’” says co-founder Emmanuel Bamfo to the New York Post of some reasons why users have flocked to Globe.
“Our love is unlimited,” Brittney Gwynn, 32, told The New York Times last month of her reason to use the app. “But in terms of the time we’re spending together, we’re getting on each other’s nerves.”
Globe relies on people willing to rent out quiet spaces in their homes or buildings, like Airbnb. However, unlike the home-rental app, the rooms are by the hour and overnight stays are prohibited. Globe also updated its safety policy due to the outbreak, which now requires users come alone, submit a photo for verification and provide body temperature to ensure they do not have the virus. Homeowners must also clean between guests.
However, these regulations have not gone far enough for San Francisco, which sent out a letter to Bamfo claiming the hourly rentals violate the city’s shelter-in-place mandates, TechCrunch reports.
Bamfo’s app, meanwhile, has continued to operate. Those who have turned to the app as a way to get some peace during a hectic time have seemed to be pleased with the service.
“It’s a good place for me to focus, hammer out work, take Zoom calls,” Ali Hussain, the COO at smartphone-operated door access system Latch, told the New York Post. “It makes lockdown more doable for me.”