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Hotels accommodating quarantined travellers

By Hannah Scott, Local Journalism Initiative reporter

Published 2:19 PDT, Wed March 31, 2021

Now that non-essential travellers coming into Canada must quarantine while awaiting COVID-19 test results, some local hotels have been designated as approved locations for these mandatory stays.

Of 18 government-approved B.C. hotels, 11 are located in Richmond, including the Executive Hotel Vancouver Airport and Quality Hotel Airport South. But being a part of the program hasn’t come without some challenges.

“Everything we have for these guests needs to be separate from our regular guests. so they’ll be in a separate building with separate transportation,” says Maswood Schah, national director of sales for Executive Hotels and Resorts. 

Schah notes that at the Executive Hotel, each of the three buildings has its own entrance with a check-in desk. The hotel restaurant will deliver meals to people’s rooms, and security will also monitor the doors to ensure no one breaks quarantine rules.

“The biggest challenge we faced right away was transportation,” says Quality Hotel Airport South general manager, Vijaay Kanna. “Many of our guests are arriving from Asia-Pacific and are travelling with a large amount of luggage.

Because there are restrictions on the number of people allowed in shuttle vehicles, the hotel had to increase the number of vehicles and staff available to transport travellers, and is also providing taxi vouchers. There are security guards on all four floors with guests in quarantine, and the hotel partnered with a few local restaurants to provide meals. Guests can also use food delivery apps to have food delivered to the front desk.

“An unexpected challenge was guests arriving at the airport without hotel reservations,” said Kanna. “The 1-800 line was extremely difficult to get through to, especially for guests calling from Asia. Since then, Health Canada representatives at the airport have been extremely helpful in assisting guests, especially when they arrive without reservations. Overall, the airport in Vancouver has been able to handle the incoming guests very effectively.”

Kanna says the Quality Hotel Airport South is operating at about 60 per cent occupancy. While that isn’t full capacity, the business is helping.

“The challenge is dealing with the outside costs that we don’t normally have,” he says. “But we’ve managed to pivot, and overall our experience with the hotel quarantine program has been positive.”

The following Richmond hotels are part of the government’s approved list:

• Abercorn Inn Vancouver Airport

• Days Inn by Wyndham Vancouver Airport

• Executive Hotel Vancouver Airport

• Fairmont Vancouver Airport

• Four Points by Sheraton Vancouver Airport  Hotel

• Hilton Vancouver Airport

• Quality Hotel Airport South

• Radisson Hotel Vancouver Airport

• Sandman Hotel Vancouver Airport

• Travelodge Hotel by Wyndham Vancouver Airport

• Westin Wall Centre Vancouver Airport

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