I'm A Mask Wearing, Lockdown Supporting Liberal. But, I Don't Agree With Hotel Quarantine Regulations. This Is Why.
I like to think I’m as liberal as they come. I’m your typical anti-Trump-, pro-choice, socialist stereotype. I’ll judge you if you’re not wearing a mask in stores and I understand the need for lockdowns. That being said, there is one thing that has been hitting the news recently in both Canada and the UK that is forcing me to stand on the other side of the spectrum. That thing is quarantine hotels.
I absolutely agree that people should not be travelling right now. Yes, I am someone who has travelled twice during the pandemic, however, like most people travelling these days, I travelled for essential reasons. Sure, there is still a small percentage of people travelling for holiday (I’m looking at you Ted Cruz,) but as I said, it’s a small percentage. Do you know how I know it’s a small percentage? Because when I travelled, both times, the airports were practically empty. The few people who were there were travelling with large amounts of suitcases insinuating they were going to be at their destination for a while. They were people moving to a new home, like me. Millions of people right now all over the world are on visas that have an expiry date. I am one of them. Thousands of those visas have expired during the pandemic, and governments have taken little to no action to help with this issue. I was on the Tier 5 Youth Mobility visa last year that expired in July of 2020. This particular visa has a hard end date which you can’t extend. That being said, the UK did allow for visas to be extended if you couldn’t get home because of the pandemic. However, as flights to Canada from the UK have continued to run throughout and borders have remained open, I was exempt. Lucky for me though, I came home long before the Canadian government enacted quarantine hotel regulations.
Lucky for me, but unlucky for thousands of people whose visas are expiring during this time. People who couldn’t get back home earlier because of school, work, family or other reasons. People who were preparing to quarantine for two weeks coming back to Canada but can’t afford hundreds of dollars a night to stay at a fancy hotel. People who have been trying to book Covid tests and hotels while also dealing with flight cancellations and delays. These people are jumping through hoops to get back home and yet they are still being deemed by the government and the public to be “reckless, selfish travellers.”
I had to quarantine twice. First, when I moved back to Canada and then later when I moved back to the UK. I was not contacted once. No call, no knock on the door... nothing. If governments put more effort and money into contact tracing and rapid testing they wouldn’t need to sabotage what little of the travel industry there is left. Canada already had one of the tightest borders in the world, and yes, the UK’s could absolutely be tighter, but I don’t agree with hotels being the answer. At least, I don’t agree with quarantine hotels for people who actually NEED to be travelling.
I don’t care about the holidaymakers and the snowbirds. They can pay thousands for hotels, absolutely. I care about the people who are stuck because not travelling is literally not an option for them. We need to stop lumping them in with the actual selfish travellers and actually start being compassionate about their stories.