the reality of UK hotel quarantine

Yesterday there was salmon and a can of kale – not a combination that I’ve eaten before. In fact, most meals seem to be served with a box of a few leaves or whatever, no plates are provided. It’s never bad food, it’s just not what I normally eat.



an airplane flying in the sky: Photograph: Hollie Adams / Getty Images


© Provided by The Guardian
Photograph: Hollie Adams / Getty Images

I am on the 10th day of my stay in quarantine at the hotel, so I will be leaving to go home on Tuesday. I’m in a small room, not much bigger than the bed, so there really isn’t much room. As a reward, I have a huge floor-to-ceiling window that opens, so fresh air is plentiful – and much needed.

I traveled for work, which is in technology for air traffic control. My job is free from travel restrictions, but I came back from a redlisted country and therefore had to be quarantined. I had no problem booking the hotel, but I only received a confirmation that I had paid, and no indication of the hotel that was assigned to me, so I was unable to complete the passenger locator form, which you need plane. It took a very long and very expensive recall in the UK to find out.

When you arrive at the hotel you can make a selection of dishes from a menu for the next 10 days. There are two meal choices per day, one vegetarian and one meat. That said, we can order from the hotel menu or order food from anywhere to be delivered.

One thing that annoyed me slightly was the hotel’s offer to wash “seven essentials” for free. Since most of us wear a lot of clothes a day, that doesn’t seem like enough for a 10 day stay. They will wash more for a charge, although I don’t know how much it costs. They haven’t defined what an essential part of laundry is. Are jeans essential when you are locked in a room alone or are they just underwear? And I didn’t insist that socks count as one or two items.

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FOLLOWING

FOLLOWING

I’ve been home in Poole for 45 days, and since I’ve been away for so long, I had my own laundry detergent, so I was washing clothes in my sink. I also have my Xbox, which is lucky, although I didn’t think I would bring it here when I left. My friends have been wonderful sending me unsolicited care packages – from sarcastic “i-Spy” books to adult “swear” coloring books, scones with jam and cream, a Rubik’s cube and even a case of beer. I even had an “escape room” puzzle book, which I found appropriate.



a traffic light in front of a sunset: Travelers must be quarantined for 10 days in a hotel after returning to the UK from a country on the red list.


© Photograph: Hollie Adams / Getty Images
Travelers are expected to be quarantined for 10 days in a hotel after returning to the UK from a redlisted country.

My company gave me the opportunity to work, so I did two days of work out of four mornings, which kept me reasonably busy and allowed me to get up in the morning.

I had two negative tests, one on the third day and one on the eighth day, so I will be leaving tomorrow.

In the hotel, maybe there were some people who were not behaving, which made me furious. Some seem to have gatherings in front of me, with people walking up the stairs and going to other people’s rooms to chat, and I called the front desk to report it. My wife works in a Covid room in a hospital, so I couldn’t be more in favor of people playing by the rules.

I fully support quarantine even though it is frustrating to have affected me. Looking at how countries like Australia behaved, we should have done it over 12 months ago and we could have saved thousands of lives. At the end of the day, it’s only 10 days, I’m safe and warm, and I have food and a roof over my head. So while there may be a series of first world deprivations, I don’t have any real complaints.

• The main image for this article was modified on March 2, 2021. A previous image showed a hotel not participating in the quarantine program.

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