THE head of Best Western Hotels has warned they have heard NOTHING from the government regarding the quarantine hotel scheme.
The new travel restrictions, which were announced last week, will require arrivals from 33 high-risk countries to quarantine at a government-mandated hotel.
The high-risk list could be expanded this week as 27 more countries have reported the mutant Covid strain, with Spain feared to be one of them.
However, a start date for the new restrictions along with how much it will cost are yet to be given.
Best Western Chief executive Rob Patterson said on BBC’s Today programme, when asked if they had been given any information on how they are going to work, said: “No, not at all.”
He explained: “We got the understanding that quarantine hotels was something that was going to be considered in the UK quite some time ago and we are yet to understand what the protocols are required of the hotels.
“We’ve set out suggested protocols and offered support but are yet to hear anything.”
He also said that they didn’t know anything about how many staff will be needed or how many people the hotels can expect, adding: “In any normal company, if you announced a programme nationally and you hadn’t thought about how you were going to plan that and hadn’t spoken to the people involved, I’m not sure I’d have a job.”
Mr Patterson said it would be “logical” to speak to airlines, airport operators and hoteliers to discuss the new scheme, but “haven’t heard anything” despite offers to help the government.
He explained that one large problem is knowing how many people could be arriving at the hotel – as they won’t open if they don’t know how many guests to expect.
He said: ‘If you take hotel which is closed and they open that hotel, there is big expense.
“A hotelier is only going to open if there is a genuine business need. If they open a big hotel at the airport and five people turn up to pay, there is no block booking, then they are going to be losing more than they are losing now when its closed.
“We need some assurance of what demand levels are going be, and when they turn up to understand the pricing, what security protocols are needed.”
What guests could expect
- Could cost up to £1,600 per person
- Police escort to hotel
- No visitors
- Three meals a day delivered to their door
- Private security supervising rooms
- CCTV watching those isolating
- Designated outside time
Lucy Morton, head of Immigration Services union, also said on the BBC programme that they know “absolutely nothing” about how hotel quarantines will be enforced.
She added:”The expectation is that any involvement of Border Force is going to be relatively minimal.
“We don’t know if Border Force is going to be expected to determine whether someone should quarantine or not or whether this will be done on the Passenger Locator Form.
“We don’t expect Border Force officers will be involved in transporting passengers to hotels.”
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Boris Johnson reportedly overruled Sage scientists who warned that all arrivals should quarantine at hotels, not just high-risk countries.
Sage scientists had warned the PM that travel bans aimed only at certain countries would fail to block out new strains of the bug.
However, both the PM and Health Secretary Matt Hancock have still been unable to say when the hotel quarantine system will come into force.
Here is what it is like to quarantine at a hotel for two weeks.