More cheap options as second list of quarantine hotels booked

Local | Mandy Zheng 19 Jan 2021

Thirty-six hotels will be in the second phase of the government's designated quarantine hotel scheme from next month.

They will be providing 10,000 rooms, of which 2,800 cost HK$500 or less per night, Secretary for the Civil Service Patrick Nip Tak-kuen said.

Nip noted that the second phase, to start on February 20 and last until April 20, will offer some 2,000 fewer rooms than the first phase list as Hong Kong's ban of flights from the United Kingdom and South Africa could lead to a slight decline in quarantiners.

Starting from late last month, any Hongkonger returning from overseas had to be isolated for 21 days at a designated quarantine hotel.

They will enjoy cheaper options in the next round, with 27 percent costing no more than HK$500 a night including food and 8,500 rooms (83.5 percent) HK$1,000 or less.

The first round, which started on December 22 with 36 hotels, has so far served some 9,600 people with 12,000 rooms, contributing to an overall occupancy rate of nearly 60 percent.

The government has promised to compensate participating hotels' revenue if its occupancy rate fails to reach 50 percent when the scheme ends. This arrangement remains the same in the second round.

"The scheme's operation has been smooth," Nip said, adding that over 70 hotels had applied to be in the second phase.

Thirty-six were selected based on room prices and whether they met anti-pandemic regulations. Of these, 32 had been in the first round of the scheme.

Authorities considered their occupancy rates and virus control performances as they compiled the second list.

Four new hotels were added to the list as four in the previous round withdrew from the scheme.

The withdrawals were due to "their own considerations and commercial reasons," said Nip, and officials managed to replace them with hotels providing less costly rooms.

A spokesman for the O' Hotel in To Kwa Wan said it quit the scheme as "we have other business ideas for April and May."

The hotel has seen a "pretty high'' occupancy rate of 50 percent since participating in the scheme.

The Luxe Manor in Tsim Sha Tsui said it pulled out "after careful evaluation," and it came down to a "business decision."

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