Hotels cautiously welcome idea of becoming quarantine centres

The idea of Ireland fostering a ‘zero Covid’ approach to the suppression of the Covid-19 virus has picked up momentum with no immediate end in sight to the national lockdown.
Hotels cautiously welcome idea of becoming quarantine centres

Hotels in the immediate vicinity of Dublin Airport have given a cautious vote of approval for the idea of mandatory traveller quarantine on their premises. Picture Colin Keegan

Hotels in the immediate vicinity of Dublin Airport have given a cautious vote of approval for the idea of mandatory traveller quarantine on their premises.

The idea of Ireland fostering a ‘zero Covid’ approach to the suppression of the virus has picked up momentum, with cases of the virus remaining stubbornly high and no immediate end in sight to the national lockdown.

A key part of such an approach would be a mandatory hotel quarantine for two weeks for all incoming travellers. Up until now, the State merely ‘advises’ travellers of the need to isolate following their arrival, although a requirement to display evidence of a Covid-not-detected test result, dating from within three days prior to travel, does exist.

Speaking on condition of anonymity, staff at a number of hotels in close proximity to Dublin Airport spoke in favour of the suggestion of using hotels for quarantine purposes.

“I think we probably would go for it, we’re only open in a limited capacity at present and we already take people who are isolating anyway, so I think it would work,” one woman, speaking from accommodation near the country’s largest airport, said.

She added that those currently isolating with her own employer tend to be regular customers, who have had to isolate on a repeat basis following separate trips.

Meanwhile, the Irish Hotels Federation said of the idea that it would “engage with the relevant authorities to help in whatever way we can” while stressing that participation in the scheme would have to be “a matter for individual hotels”.

“Health and safety is the first priority for hotels including guests, suppliers, and our teams,” they said.

Tánaiste Leo Varadkar appeared to pour cold water on the move when speaking on the issue in the Dail on Thursday afternoon, describing it as being “unworkable”, but public experts have said the measures would be a crucial part of Ireland's battle to control the virus.

It’s also unclear at present how such mandatory quarantine would be funded.

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