"​Why the 3 Day Hotel Quarantine might do more harm than good"

Posted on 03/09/2021 | About Canada, Canada

By Anita Djordjevic, owner of All Seasons Travel

Operating a Travel Agency that has been active through the pandemic, servicing many clients who left and came back to Canada.

We cannot help but wonder why or how this is keeping our customers safe?

Some restrictions are adequate.

  1. PCR testing to enter seems a legit and understandable requirement to keep the COVID-19 numbers from spreading.
  2. An additional PCR test once you arrive, sure. The additional precaution is accepted by most.
  3. At home quarantine of 14 days seems a bit harsh after two negative tests, but we will still obey if that means helping.

However, a 3 day (up to $3000 in cost) hotel quarantine not only makes little sense and seems intentionally conceived as punishment for most travelers, but has also proven quite contrary to keeping people safe.

We have been receiving feedback from clients arriving over the last few weeks with the following concerns:

  • Long lineups with other travelers at the airport for hotel check-in
  • Long lineups with other travelers for hotel shuttle and taxi service
  • Guests not having money or refusing to book hotels, staying for over 8 hours at the airport
  • Very long lineups at the hotel check in counter, some with waiting times of 4 hours or longer amid crowds of other passengers
  • Being left without food for the whole day
  • Guests ordering food or leaving to get food
  • Guests wandering up and down hallways
  • Guests receiving their negative test results within hours, but not wanting to leave the hotels (since their 3 night stay is non-refundable), mingling and interacting with other "negative' guests instead of going home to quarantine
  • Guests having to help other guests because the hotels are overwhelmingly understaffed
  • Safety. Female travelers trying to avoid hotel quarantine at any cost, over a few cases of alleged and confirmed abuse at hotels, that have been publicized.

There is so much unnecessary interaction involved with dozens of people by the time you check in and out. Under these circumstances, how is it safer than waiting for your test result at home?

On top of all this, it seems that less than half the passengers arriving into Pearson International actually end up at the hotels.

Most of those sent home are exempt due to the hotel rooms being overbooked. Others just request to go home and are told that a fine will follow. At this point, in my industry, the general assumption is that most people are actually avoiding the hotel quarantine one way or another and going home. Day after day, travelers are choosing the fines over the hotel without knowing what they are being fined for. They are staying in quarantine, just not with another few hundred people.

Another condition of the hotel stay is that people have to book a minimum of 3 nights and sign a non-refundable waiver at check in, although most PCR results seem to be available to guest in 12-24hrs. The fact that people are charged so much money and than allowed to hang around for days after results are received, again brings up concerns that this has nothing to do with the safety of travelers.

I am by no means advocating that anyone should act against government advisories. My intention is to simply point out the overwhelming flaws of this enforced hotel stay. If the sole reason for this was to scare people from travelling, it is obviously not working. Maybe it should be replaced or at least reviewed before it proves to backfire, as seems to be the case?

Anyone that is taking part in it can clearly see that the protocols taken at the airport / taxi/ hotel/ food delivery and countless encounters with other travelers considerably increase the chance of transmitting Covid19 and can by no means parallel the safety of being in your own home.