Some of the designated hotels currently used by the government for quarantine purposes may have served unhygienic food to guests, Inês Chan, official from the Macao Government Tourism Office (MGTO), admitted during the press conference at the Novel Coronavirus Response and Coordination Center.
The Times has recently received information from readers that food provided by a quarantine hotel was dirty and inedible. There were even insects in the food served, a reader claimed.
In response to the comment, Chan stressed that most of these designated hotels were set up in haste, while stressing that efforts have been made to improve conditions.
So far, nearly 3,000 people who have returned from other countries, many of whom had been in Europe and North America, are staying at the designated hotels. The sudden influx of returnees over a brief period of two weeks has imposed an extra burden on the hotel operators, the official explained.
However, Chan assured the public that the management of these hotels is rigorous in handling these guests. Some managers attended to their guests’ requests, inquiries or complaints even at late hours. In many cases, they also had meetings with the tourism regulator to find ways to improve their services.
“Of course, we did witness areas in which improvements were needed,” the official admitted, before disclosing problems with catering at some hotels.
She explained that many hotels had had to outsource catering services and that many of the hotels were not designed to hold a full house of guests who had to stay inside at all times for 14 days straight.
“As a large number of guests are staying in at one time, their kitchen just couldn’t handle the catering needs,” Chan disclosed. “Once they discovered problems with their catering service providers, they stopped using their services.”
Chan further said that the designated hotels have been working to cater to every guest’s need. “For instance, some hotels [have] asked their caterers to reduce their use of oil, after receiving complaints that food was too oily,” the MGTO official disclosed. Children’s meals were also provided as some guests had requested meals for their young children.
The Times also received a complaint from a reader, who said that breakfast was served late – at about 9:30 a.m. – by a designated hotel.
The tourism official pointed out that the designated hotels have tried to serve meals at the same time every day, but noted that some delays were unavoidable.
“Sometimes health checks coincided with meal service, so we need to make ways for health checks to finish,” Chan explained. “Otherwise, there is a fixed schedule according to which meals are served.”