Late on Friday, Prime Minister Scott Morrison announced that anyone returning from overseas would need to undertake a mandatory 14-day self-isolation period in hotel accommodation provided. Venues with pub rooms that have shut are now looking to get involved so as to keep one part of their businesses operational.
The PM made the announcement among many others, noting that the new arrangement would come into force from 28 March.
“In addition to the arrival declaration and the support of legislation that is put behind that. So, by no later than midnight tomorrow, that is 11:59pm Saturday states and territories will be quarantining all arrivals through our airports, in hotels and other accommodation facilities for the two weeks of their mandatory self-isolation before they are able to return to their home.”
Tourism Accommodation Australia CEO Michael Johnson said the association and many hotel operators had been working with the government last week to prepare for the implementation of the new regulation.
“Hotels across Australia have the capacity to play a central role in ensuring guests and local residents arriving into Australia are quarantined effectively, which will help arrest the spread of COVID-19,” he said.
“Many hotel operators have expressed an interest in facilitating guests in their properties for quarantining purposes and this will greatly assist an industry which has faced unprecedented challenges in recent months.”
One of those companies to express interest is Nightcap Hotels, the accommodation arm of ALH Group, which has accommodation rooms in 52 locations across the country. When pubs were forced to close last week, so did all of the group’s attached accommodation offerings.
“We would certainly consider re-opening some of our accommodation to international arrivals looking to self isolate or other emergency services, this would create or maintain existing employment in these unprecedented times,” Nightcap Hotels CEO Brett Salter told Australian Hotelier.
“We have provided a list of our accommodation sites to various government departments in the hope we can re-activate some of these rooms.”
In Perth, AHA WA CEO Bradley Woods, said that hotels across the state were ready to be called upon.
“The Prime Minister’s announcement that hotels will provide quarantine services for all incoming arrivals – both residents and visitors – will be supported and activated immediately as needed.”
“The AHA has been engaged in close discussions with the State and Federal Government over the past weeks to ensure we continue to play a critical role in curbing the spread of COVID-19 and yet again the industry has stepped up to the plate.”
As noted by the Prime Minister in a press conference on Sunday, 1600 people had been quarantined in hotels in Sydney alone in the first 24 hours since the legislation came into force.