TORONTO — Health and safety protocols in place at several designated quarantine hotels near Toronto’s Pearson Airport don’t appear to be completely effective.
Two more hotels on the federal government’s list of designated quarantine properties – the Hampton Inn and Suites by Hilton, and the Holiday Inn Toronto Airport – have COVID-19 outbreaks.
According to media reports from 680 News and others, Peel Region has partially closed the Hampton Inn and Suites by Hilton, under direction from Peel Public Health. A closure happens when five or more people at a workplace test positive for COVID-19 within a period of 14 days. There’s also been an outbreak at the Holiday Inn Toronto Airport, where seven people are said to have tested positive for COVID-19.
The news comes a week after more than a dozen employees tested positive at the Crowne Plaza Toronto Airport. Toronto Public Health staff were assigned to the investigation. “There doesn’t seem to be any precautions,” said one reporter asking about the hotel’s status during a Q&A session with Toronto’s Medical Officer of Health, Dr. Eileen de Villa, last week.
There have been problems from the get-go with the 3-day hotel quarantine requirement, in effect since mid-February and one of many layers of travel restrictions put in place by the federal government.
The list includes hours-long call centre wait times and, far more seriously, allegations of sexual assault on-site.
An Ipsos poll showed that while 58% of Canadians said they believed the hotel quarantine requirement was necessary, only 30% said they believed it was effective.
There have also been numerous reports of travellers dodging the hotel quarantine.
AIR CANADA, WESTJET CALL FOR ELIMINATION OF HOTEL QUARANTINE RULE
Air Canada CEO Michael Rousseau has called on the federal government to put an end to the hotel quarantine requirement.
“The current mandatory hotel quarantine for arrivals has proven ineffective. It should be eliminated,” said Rousseau last week.
Air Canada isn’t the only airline to call for the end of the hotel quarantine rule.
WestJet has also made the same request to the federal government. Back in March 2021 WestJet’s Director, Government Relations, Andy Gibbons, said WestJet had asked the federal government to phase out the 3-day hotel quarantine requirement for international travellers starting May 1.
The hotel quarantine rule along with Canada’s long list of other travel restrictions has since been extended until at least May 21.
“The hotel quarantine was not designed to encourage the restart of travel. The hotel quarantine was designed to dampen or eliminate travel. It’s a temporary measure,” said Gibbons.
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