HASSAN: Hotel quarantines are really about punishing people

Steve Duesing is ready to leave after he was quarantined at the government-approved Radisson Hotel on Dixon Rd. on Wednesday February 3, 2021.

The federal government wishes to control the spread of COVID-19 and its variants by restricting travel in and out of Canada.

This, at least, is the claim of the Trudeau Liberals. The government has therefore mandated hotel stays along with stipulating widespread testing of returning travellers.

The policy is nothing short of a farce. What the government really wants is to punish individuals who ignore its recommendations to avoid non-essential travel.

As Toronto Sun columnist Joe Warmington said, the mandatory government-designated hotels are more like prisons. The hotel guests are like inmates.

Travellers must wait in long queues to check into these hotels, get tested, wait at least three days for the results, go home, perform another test after ten days and incur all the exorbitant costs associated with these activities.

Does the government realize that all this is “necessary” only because they continues to muddle through the vaccine rollout? Most Canadians remain unprotected against the deadly virus.

Canadian hotels appear to be ill-prepared for traveller influx. According to Warmington, the food is sub-standard, and the services provided by these hotels leave much to be desired.

In the two weeks since these measures were put in place, returning travellers have experienced horrendous levels of inconvenience. After hours of being cooped up in planes, they have had to wait in line to check into these hotels. The lobbies are crowded with people complaining about the comforts they would naturally crave after a long trip.

  1. The Alt Hotel Pearson Airport is one of five hotels designated by the federal government to be used to quarantine air travellers flying into Toronto Pearson International Airport.

    WARMINGTON: Hotels become jails when healthy citizens not allowed to leave

  2. Vehicles outside Terminal One at Pearson airport on Sunday, Feb. 21, 2021 ahead of the start of the mandatory three-day quarantine for passengers returning from non-essential travel.

    WARMINGTON: Pearson bracing for potential 'chaos' as new hotel rules implemented

According to Raymond Truesdale, whose video clip of Sheraton Toronto’s services went viral, guests arriving at the hotel weren’t fed for hours. When the food finally arrived, it was unpalatable and shockingly expensive.

Warmington wrote that “after seeing the prices detainees are being charged, it’s also no wonder hotel management asked security to kick us off the property when asking about it. Charging $47.23 for a bowl of chilli, rice, salad, and a Diet Pepsi is not easy to defend.”

Why have these hotels not adequately prepared for returning travellers despite being given lead time for months? And why are these hotels charging this much for food?

Other hotel guests have complained about the high costs of staying at these hotels, adding up sometimes to a few thousand dollars.

Canadians are being punished for the ineptitude of the government. The latest controversies around these hotels only mirror other botched efforts by the government.

For example, the government started worrying about the UK variant only in December, when medical staff in the UK were aware of the mutation since September. Why weren’t proper measures taken to prevent the arrival of the variant in Canada sooner? In some parts of the country, the variant makes up forty percent of all infections.

The approval of the AstraZeneca vaccine has brought some hope of ending the pandemic in Canada sooner.

The government needs to get its act together swiftly. Over 78 million Americans have already been vaccinated.

We are a nation of less than 40 million. We could have all been vaccinated by this time.

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