Updated: Feb 19
Masters of the Cadbury Secret – Les Feds, are once again in a race for the bottom position in the area of communicating to the great unwashed.
A couple of weeks ago they announced that effective Feb.22, all travellers including returning Canadians arriving home by air would be mandated into a 3 night stay at a government designated hotel at passenger expense.
Details of which hotels were on the “naughty or nice” list would be made available…… soon.
Important information to have in hand given that passengers were responsible for making their own reservations and having the confirmation available to present to Canada Customs upon arrival.
Here we are Feb.18 some 72 hours before extendacation kicks in, and there’s precious little information available to mere mortals in need of same.
And so in the wee hours of a frosty Alberta morning when sleep was as elusive as federal clarity, through a series of phone calls to various governmental agencies, here’s what we know *thus far* :
The boys in Ottawa have awarded a tender to HRG Canada known to many as American Express Global Business Travel to handle the reservation of rooms needed by travellers scheduled to arrive on Canadian soil as of Feb.22,2021.
The process involves calling them at 1-800-294-8253 *or* if you’re calling from out of country ( which I suspect most passengers in need will be) 1-613-830-2992
As of 6:30AM Calgary time this morning, the only Calgary hotel on the list is the Marriott Calgary Airport.
At a cost of $1425 for 3 nights.
Meals *not included*
Unless of course you are a newly arrived refugee in which case as announced this morning by Ottawa – the Canadian Taxpayer will be picking up the tab for the hotel stay
HRG ( which in the writer’s opinion) is a pretty decent operation with a solid record of managing a wide range of travel solutions for their corporate clientele.
That said – they’re going to have their hands full with this one.
For openers, guests who have previously stayed at the Calgary Airport Hotel are more than aware that the average rate for a bunk runs in the $200 per night range.
To jump from that to close to $500 per night without a lot of transparency is going to ruffle more than a few feathers.
And no – HRG won’t have the answers – for that, passengers will have to get in touch with someone at Transport Canada, or PHAC, or the PMO.
And I’m sure eventually – someone will respond.
Neither of course will the Marriott have answers – they’re simply contracted out by Les Feds and are instructed to remit the $500 per night to Ottawa.
The “iso-quarantine” rules -as we know them – may not sit all that well with the captives.
-no leaving the room ( security guards on duty on each floor to ensure this is followed)
-no visitors and no outside delivery of food/beverage/medication etc etc
-with hotels being “no smoking zones” – those requiring inhalation therapy to combat stress…….. will have “issues”.
-minimal and perhaps challenging access to fresh air given that windows are hermetically sealed
-availability of food and beverage limited to room service- at room service prices
-passengers travelling with pets (service animals or others) whereby the hotel- if it accepts pets – would probably prefer regular constitutional breaks be taken *outdoors*
I don’t know that I’d want to be an employee of the hotel(s) in question.
In the midst of a dire stress situation where there are more questions than answers, angry frightened and confused passengers are without doubt – going to lash out at someone.
And unless they’re able to get in touch with the Prime Sinister’s Office – chances are the hotel employee(s) will bear the brunt of anger and backlash.
Would *you* want to be the one having to advise a guest that “your On Arrival PCR test has come back positive and so you will be here for another 11 nights – and we’ll be running your credit card another $500 x 11 = $5500”?.
Given the possibility that said “guest” is a Calgary resident with a home located 3 miles from the hotel – an impending fiasco is a given.
I’m all for curbing the spread on transmissible viruses that have clearly demonstrated an ability to cause irreparable damage.
I am however somewhat skeptical of the effectiveness of taking an Alberta resident, who 72 hours prior to his or her flight home tested negative on the PCR scale, and placing them into a hotel where they’re sequestered inside with every other international arrival for another 72 hours.
As opposed to perhaps spending 10% of the cost of Club Fed and putting said residents into private commercial vehicles sealed off from the driver and getting them *home* to quarantine the 14 days away from any and all other folks.
Then again – what do I know?
I may just call the good folks at Cadbury for the answer to this one.
Adios until next time.