25 people already in hotel isolation, as Red Cross clarifies the rules of quarantine
Hotels providing food, Red Cross managing dietary restrictions and medical needs
Twenty-five people are quarantining in hotels across New Brunswick after new travel restrictions went into effect Saturday night at midnight.
All leisure travellers, business travellers, people moving to New Brunswick, and most students and people helping them move will have to self-isolate for at least seven days at a designated hotel.
One of the seven hotels on the initial list asked to be removed because they didn't have the capacity.
But everyone except students and people with financial difficulties will have to pay at least $200 a night to stay at one of the remaining six hotels.
The only students exempt from hotel isolation are those moving from other parts of Atlantic Canada, except Halifax.
Students from Prince Edward Island, Newfoundland and Labrador and other parts of Nova Scotia will still have to self-isolate, but they can do this at home or in residence. People helping them move here will still have to self-isolate, but not necessarily at a hotel.
Six hotels have been set up to house the travellers, said Red Cross spokesperson Allie Murchison.
Murchison said the designated isolation hotels are:
- Saint John: Hilton Saint John
- Moncton: Hyatt place
- Fredericton: Delta
- Miramichi: Rodd Miramichi River
- Bathurst: Best Western
- Campbellton: Quality Inn
The Woodstock Best Value Inn was previously on the list but declined to participate.
When the province announced the new restrictions, it also announced an increase in non-compliance fines to $580 from $292. According to the mandatory order, each day a person breaks the isolation rule would be considered a separate offence and bring a separate fine. The maximum fine is $20,400.
Before entering New Brunswick
Murchison said that before travelling to New Brunswick, people have to register with the province and wait for the approval.
Once the traveller receives the approval they can either book a hotel stay though the Red Cross by calling 1-800-863-6582, or book directly through the hotel and make sure the desk knows the booking is for mandatory isolation.
Murchison said people will be isolating at the hotel closest to their point of entry, not closest to their destination.
She said the province requires both the travel registration and hotel booking before letting people in. Murchison said it's best to have those two documents printed before heading to the border.
"Having that paper documentation allows the border patrol to view that and make sure that that's confirmed rather than touching your phone," she said.
She said if people can't produce a hotel booking at the border, they will have to book the hotel at the border before they can proceed. This applies to everyone coming into the province for non-essential reasons, whether it's by car, train or plane.
Arriving at the hotel
The hotels are still taking in regular customers as well, with a specific wing or floor that is designated for people in isolation, Murchison said.
Once travellers arrive to the hotel, they have to wear a mask when going in. They're assigned a room and have to go ther directly, she said.
She said they will be given numbers to call if they have any questions.
"There are bound to be questions," she said.
Murchison said the Red Cross will also collect information about people's dietary restrictions and medical needs, and work with the hotels to make sure people's needs are met. The Red Cross will be bringing meals to each traveller by contactless delivery and can also bring medicine and other equipment needed.
Security will be assigned to those areas, and people isolating are not allowed to leave their rooms for any reason other than emergencies. They will be forbidden from walking in hallways or taking the elevators and walking the grounds at the hotel.
"There will be no intermingling amongst those groups of people," she said.
Murchison said testing will be done at each of the isolation hotels. People will be contacted when it's time for their tests.
She said the exact method the tests will be administered hasn't been determined yet.
"Right now, we're looking to establish either someone coming to each room, or establishing a clear testing site in that hotel, where someone leaves the room, of course, masked up and social distanced, and gets that test done in a quarantine testing room."
Completing the stay
Murchison said people will get a test on the fifth day of their isolation, and will likely get the result of the test on the seventh day. If that test is negative people can either complete their isolation at a place where no one else lives, or if that's not possible, stay at the hotel.
After the first negative test, people completing their isolation at the hotel can take walks and get fresh air while wearing masks and maintaining physical distancing.
"Once that negative COVID test happens, you'll be able to stand outside your hotel and get that much needed fresh air," she said.