Canada Association of Tourism Employees

What’s a quarantine lodge like?

Before March 2020, the concept of a quarantine hotel would have seemed like a zombie apocalypse to many people. The thought of being locked away to prevent the spread of a dangerous virus is still quite unsettling and goes against the idea of ​​a hotel as a place to spend your free time.

However, in 2021, they will be a necessary part of life for people who want to travel from Red List countries. Not only that, but several tourism-dependent countries see them as part of a path back to normal life.

If you are wondering exactly what life in a quarantined hotel would be like, read on to find out what countries are doing about it and what to expect when you visit one this summer.

What is a red list?

A red list is a list of nations that are at high risk of Covid transmission through a particular country. These vary from country to country as each has its own method of determining what constitutes “high risk” and they can change regularly due to case numbers, vaccinations, or even political and economic reasons.

While many experts believe such lists are necessary to keep infections under control, others have criticized them for several reasons. First, countries could participate in a “list-for-act” red list in which they ban visitors in revenge for being banned themselves, and not for scientific reasons. Also, it may not make economic sense to ban some nations because of close relationships. This may have influenced the UK’s decision to allow entry to Indian travelers instead of Pakistani visitors, despite the new dangerous Indian variant that has wreaked havoc across New Delhi. British Prime Minister Boris Johnson even planned to visit India to show his support.

Despite this criticism, countries follow this red list system to determine who has to stay in a quarantine hotel and for how long.


What happens in a quarantine hotel?

As you’ve probably figured out by now, isolation is the whole point of quarantine. In a hotel, this means that you have to limit yourself to your room, with no mixing allowed between the guests.

In a hotel with good room service, this might be fine for the first few days – even pleasant. However, many places call for a two week prison term: a much more difficult task – there are only so many things to keep you entertained, after all.

In addition to distancing yourself from other people, there is also an obvious focus on cleanliness. In those cases where you are allowed to use a communal area such as a sauna or pool from your room, you may be expected to refurbish your area after use.

Hotels are also moving away from physical money: many have a digital service where you simply pay for everything on your card, while others accept Bitcoin. While this shouldn’t come as a surprise – you can even use Bitcoin in online casinos these days – it signals a move towards a hotel industry that refuses to trade in coins and bills.

Speaking of money, while it is obvious that vacationers will pay for the cost of their own choice of stay, countries like the UK have required visitors from “red list” countries to pay the cost of mandatory hotels – a requirement that most have Not well received by tourists, with a price tag of £ 1,750.

What are different countries doing?

Australia was one of the first countries to enforce mandatory quarantine during the pandemic. Visitors had to lock themselves in a hotel room for 14 days at their own expense, but the strategy worked. New cases fell into single digits for much of the winter or summer in Australia, making the nation one of the safest places in the world for virus transmission.

However, not all countries are as strict as Australia. To boost tourism, the Greek government asked six of its islands, including Crete, Corfu and Rhodes, to open their hotels for quarantine purposes in mid-April. The move was associated with a financial incentive: Hotels would receive 45 euros per day and room from the authorities and a daily amount of 15 euros for empty rooms. To qualify, companies would have to follow strict health instructions and offer room service to guests whenever they need it.

Visitors who are vaccinated or have a negative PCR test may not even need to be quarantined. Greece is one of the first European countries to receive visitors from anywhere on the continent in this way, and others could follow suit.

On the other side of the scale, the European Commission asked Ireland to moderate measures introduced in March that forced visitors from several EU countries to quarantine for up to 14 days at a cost of almost EUR 2,000. While the Irish government was keen to prevent new variants of Covid from spreading within its borders, the Commission feared that the policy was in violation of discrimination and free movement laws.


Are quarantine hotels forever?

If you hate the sound of quarantine hotels then don’t worry. Widespread vaccination means they are becoming less common, especially in countries with well-developed vaccination programs.

However, a disjointed global vaccination effort means spikes of the virus are always likely as travel becomes more common. If not all of them are vaccinated, there is a much higher risk of infection, which makes quarantine more likely. Depending on how well the world is fighting the deadliest pandemic in over a century, there could be quarantine hotels of some form in the years to come.

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