With more returnees availing of government-identified paid quarantine facilities at hotels, it has come as a relief for the hospitality sector which was crippled due to the pandemic-induced lockdown. Currently, nearly 169 hotels across the state are providing paid quarantine facilities. “There is an increased demand for paid quarantine, especially from Non-Resident Keralites (NRK). Though many five-star hotels in the district were reluctant to host the returnees initially, they have now started hosting guests with the necessary precautions. Most of the hotels are working on the lines of hospitals, maintaining the safety protocols,” said a Kerala Tourism official.
While some returnees opt for seven-day quarantine, others go for a 14-day quarantine. Rooms have been made available at fixed rates decided by the government and three meals are served from a standard menu. Hotel staff is not allowed to serve food or come in contact with any guests during their stay.“Although the paid quarantine facility is a service for the returnees, it may help us wade through and help suffice the expenditure requirements to some extent,” said Dileep Kumar, general manager, Mascot Hotel, KTDC.
Currently, 40 single occupancy rooms at Mascot hotel have a paid quarantine facility. Both premium and luxury rooms are available. Besides the seven-day quarantine, paid quarantine is also available for 14-days. After seven days, guests can opt for home quarantine. “Restaurants and bars at the hotel have been closed due to safety protocols. A parcel service has been adopted wherein the guests are informed when food is served,” said Dileep.
Most of the hotels have reduced rates which help them maintain an average room occupancy. Ajith Kumar, assistant manager in-charge at Chaithram Hotel, said: “Although the rooms have been given at competitive rates, business is better in comparison to previous months. Around 168 people were underpaid quarantine. Currently, there are 46 guests which include 70 percent returnees from abroad and the remaining from other states.”
Guests are served as per protocols by the health team. The team at Chaithram Hotel includes Dr. Stanley, medical officer-in-charge; Binoy Raju, health inspector, and two volunteers — Saneeth S and Muhammed Sadhik from the disaster management task force. “Counselling sessions are also provided because most returnees from abroad could be suffering from stress. If guests have a high temperature, they are referred to either General hospital or Medical College. So far, no guests at the hotel have tested positive,” said Saneeth.