Hotel quarantine 'paused' due to problems with capacity

Wednesday, April 14

The Department of Health has confirmed that bookings at mandatory quarantine hotels have been ‘paused’.

It comes after an increase in 'walk-ins' where people are turning up rather than having booked online before departure.

In a statement last night, the Department of Health said the decision to temporarily pause the booking portal has been taken as a precautionary measure to enable further assessment of capacity within the mandatory hotel quarantine system for the coming days.

It said those who have already made their booking for mandatory hotel quarantine are not affected.

"Bookings can still be made for dates from Monday 19 April onwards," the statement said.

"The temporary pause will be kept under ongoing review should additional capacity become available.

"The public health advice remains strongly against all non-essential international travel."

The Department of Transport also issued a statement yesterday evening saying that it has reminded airlines to be vigilant with regard to passengers boarding flights without a mandatory quarantine booking.

In a statement, it said carriers must take reasonable steps to inform passengers of their obligations; check mandatory quarantine booking receipt; deny boarding if not satisfied.

But the department said carriers have limited capability to check whether passengers have been in the specified countries in the previous 14 days, unless they are on direct flights from those locations.

"Since the start of the Mandatory Quarantine Facility on 26 March, and prior to the recent announced extension of the specified countries list, there have been direct flights from only three countries," the statement said.

Speaking yesterday evening, Health Minister Stephen Donnelly said that hotel room capacity will increase from 650 rooms to over 1,300 in the coming two weeks.

Sinn Féin spokesperson on Transport and Meath East TD Darren O’Rourke has said that shambolic planning and half-hearted implementation was the cause of the latest mandatory hotel quarantine chaos.

“It is incomprehensible how enough hotel rooms were not secured in advance of the rollout of this important public health measure.

This, at a time when there is so much spare capacity in our hotels, and when those same hotels are crying out for work."