By A. T. Freeman
One of the features of the management of Covid 19 across the region has been the requirement for travellers to quarantine once arriving in a country. Although this is a government mandated requirement, there has been an increasing move to make individual travellers carry all the associated costs. In the conditions where many hotels are practically empty, mandatory quarantine has become a lucrative revenue source.
For example, in Barbados, unvaccinated non-Barbadian and Barbadians, who opt not to quarantine in the government’s very basic facilities, are required to quarantine in an approved hotel at their own cost. Room rental rates normally start at around US$75 per night which does not include food. The cost of meals can be anything between US$20 and US$30 each. So for room rental and 2 meals a day, an individual could be facing a daily cost of US$125. Travellers are advised to initially book a week in quarantine, since there is no guarantee that the results of their second PCR test, taken on day 5, would be returned to them before day 7. This means that the quarantine could cost an individual some US$875.
But what is the individual paying for? First, they are not allowed to leave their room apart from on day 5 when they have to take an approved taxi to go to get their second PCR test, both of which they also have to pay for. So essentially, they are paying US$875 to be imprisoned in a hotel room for a week.
The Covid quarantine rip-off should end. Individuals placed in government mandated quarantine should not be used as a revenue stream for hotel owners. Since the government is mandating that individuals go into quarantine, it should take responsibility for the associated costs and if it has insufficient accommodation, it should requisition some of the many empty hotel rooms.