A Red Deer man says the quality of a quarantine hotel in Toronto, where he is currently staying with his 13-year-old son, is unacceptable.
Asim Khan, 43, and his son Hamdan, recently returned from a trip to Pakistan where there was a family emergency. Upon landing in Toronto, the two stayed three nights at a hotel awaiting COVID-19 test results.
When Hamdan’s results came back as positive three days later, the two were brought to a quarantine hotel, where they need to stay for two weeks. They expect to complete their quarantine March 28.
“The problem is that the conditions are so bad (at the quarantine hotel),” Khan said Sunday morning.
“They give you breakfast at 8 a.m. and it’s ice cold because it’s delivered from the other side of town. They’ve removed all the microwaves from the hotel rooms. When I asked, ‘What’s the reason (for removing the microwaves)?’ They said it’s a fire hazard because there are so many people in the hotel.”
Lunch is delivered at noon and supper arrives at 5 p.m. Khan said people staying at the quarantine hotel aren’t allowed to order any other food.
“I don’t expect the government to feed me or my family. I can pay for it, but I’m not allowed to order it. I’m not a prisoner,” he said.
“If you can’t provide me (with other options), why can’t I just buy my own food? Yeah, you get us three meals a day, thank you for that, but what good is it if we get ice cold soup and ice cold noodles or chicken?”
Khan said there was one day their lunch did not arrive, so he contacted the office of Red Deer-North MLA Adriana LaGrange in an effort to get their food. The father and son eventually got the meal three or four hours later, he said.
Being stuck in a single room for two weeks is a challenge in itself, Khan added.
“We’re stuck in the room for 14 days. You aren’t allowed to leave to get fresh air, which is fine, I get it. But when you’re thinking of quarantine centres, it should have a balcony at least,” he said.
Khan was critical of the federal government due to the quality of his stay at the quarantine hotel.
“It’s typical of Liberal government. They start a project and then they forget about it. It’s frustrating, especially when you have kids with you. If it was just me, I can manage – I’d be fine. But it’s hard to explain to your kid.
“I don’t know how many other families are here that have kids with them. It’s really hard for a kid, especially a teenager, who has nothing to eat between 5 p.m. supper and the next morning’s breakfast.”
Khan said one of the worst parts of this experience, is that he feels his voice isn’t being heard.
“It’s not just about me. I know there are tons of people in this situation and they don’t know who to contact,” he said.
“Somebody should be looking into these things. It’s just insane. We never thought we would see a day like this here.”