The new mandatory quarantine restrictions on people entering Australia is now in effect, and many hotels in the capitals have looked to providing accommodation for the isolating.

In the region of 3,000 travellers continue to arrive at Sydney airport each day, quickly loaded onto buses and not allowed to greet anyone, before being transported to one of the many hotels that have been registered.

In Sydney people are being taken to some five-star hotels, such as the Intercontinental and Swissotel, and the Crown Promenade and Metropol in Melbourne, although many are being checked into lower rate options.

The measures are a part of the concerted attempt to halt the spread of the coronavirus (COVID-19), forcing all people arriving from overseas to hole up for at least 14 days.

Taxpayers are footing the bill for the rooms, with many hotels providing an allowance on room service costs.

Food and beverages are delivered to the rooms, as those in quarantine are strictly not allowed to leave, and won’t be able to use shared facilities on the premises. Clean linen is also left at the door. Guests are not allowed to reception, and have not even been given keys.

There are security guards on every floor, and police at entrances. Anyone that breaks quarantine rules risks an $11,000 fine and six months’ jail.

Despite relative safety and meals delivered, there has been no shortage of forced inhabitants complaining about the conditions. Facebook groups have already emerged, citing issues with lack of fresh air and exercise, and inability to have outside food delivered. Some have stressed personal requirements such as age or disability have not been taken into account.  

“Prisoners get treated better than we do,” claimed Melissa Ball, one of 292 Norwegian Jewel cruise ship passengers put up at the Swissotel.

NSW Police Commissioner Mick Fuller has limited sympathy at this time.

“The reality is they are in a hotel room, and yes, they will be isolated for 14 days. That is for their own protection, the protection of their family members and the protection of the NSW community.”

Hotels and hospitality were one of the early industries hit by the crisis measures and economic downturn, and beyond the closure of pubs, a number of major chains, including InterContinental and Radisson, have already shut several locations, with more expected to follow.

The AHA NSW has offered the assistance of more than 12,000 rooms as isolation for potentially infected travellers toward the state’s quarantine efforts, which are likely to continue for at least the next few weeks until more widespread testing facilities come online.  

Beyond the mandatory quarantine, state governments have flagged stricter enforcement of social distancing. NSW Premier Berejiklian reports councils have been given greater roles, as CrimeStoppers currently fields around 120 calls each day regarding potential breaches.


  1. I am in Sheraton Grand Sydney. No fresh vegatables or Salad. Only cheap meals that are mainly pasta or rice. I am in Australia but are being fed mainly Indian or Asian type food. Bulk carbohydrates. I am concearned about my health if this does not change.
    No fresh food, no fresh air, no where to exersize. It is like solitary. If the food was better, we could cope OK. But it is terrible.

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