What you’ll eat for $60/day in hotel quarantine

Queenslanders working overseas are still trying to secure flights home as those already in hotel quarantine reveal what $60 a day for food actually gets them.

Tara Whitehead, who returned to Queensland from Melbourne, said although she was grateful to be back in the state, quarantined in Cairns, the food - which costs $60 a day - was a serious issue.

 

Tara Whitehead has photographed the meals she’s been given while in hotel quarantine in Cairns. She pays $60/day for food.
Tara Whitehead has photographed the meals she’s been given while in hotel quarantine in Cairns. She pays $60/day for food.

She said she had repeatedly been given the wrong food, despite declaring she was coeliac.

Breakfast is also reportedly served the night before, due to it being shelf or packaged food.

"I didn't get a meal at dinner at all on two occasions," she said.

Tara Whitehead has photographed the meals she’s been given while in hotel quarantine in Cairns. She pays $60/day for food.
Tara Whitehead has photographed the meals she’s been given while in hotel quarantine in Cairns. She pays $60/day for food.

"And in order to get something actually gluten free for dinner I had to request two dinners after a week of complaining about all the bread, pasta, biscuits, fried rice and noodles covered in soy sauce."

Miss Whitehead said she had begun documenting the food she had received with photographs, but had not had luck getting assurances her dietary requirements would be met.

Tara Whitehead has photographed the meals she’s been given while in hotel quarantine in Cairns. She pays $60/day for food.
Tara Whitehead has photographed the meals she’s been given while in hotel quarantine in Cairns. She pays $60/day for food.

Meanwhile, many trying to return home say they have had no luck securing a flight that hasn't been cancelled.

More than 350,000 citizens and permanent residents have returned to Australia since March, however now people face lengthy waits with only 500 international arrivals per week allowed in Brisbane.

Tara Whitehead has photographed the meals she’s been given while in hotel quarantine in Cairns. She pays $60/day for food.
Tara Whitehead has photographed the meals she’s been given while in hotel quarantine in Cairns. She pays $60/day for food.

Some who have booked flights have been told they must have an approved negative COVID-19 test before they fly and can then only do so within 96 hours of the test.

Sam Jones, who is currently trying to return to Brisbane from New York on 30 August, said despite the flight still going ahead, the big risk is that the passenger caps will be extended beyond the current date of 8 August.

Tara Whitehead has photographed the meals she’s been given while in hotel quarantine in Cairns. She pays $60/day for food.
Tara Whitehead has photographed the meals she’s been given while in hotel quarantine in Cairns. She pays $60/day for food.

"The problem is that it just doesn't make economic sense for airlines to carry 30 passengers on a long haul flight, so the government is essentially limiting its own citizens from returning," he said.

"Its forcing airlines to only choose the highest paying passengers.

Tara Whitehead has photographed the meals she’s been given while in hotel quarantine in Cairns. She pays $60/day for food.
Tara Whitehead has photographed the meals she’s been given while in hotel quarantine in Cairns. She pays $60/day for food.

"I've been planning to move home since early June …(but) I couldn't really leave before August.

"I have to quit my job in mid-August to move so I'm now in the position where if the airline cancels my flight within that two weeks notice period, which is very possible, then I'll have no job, no apartment and no flight home."

Tara Whitehead has photographed the meals she’s been given while in hotel quarantine in Cairns. She pays $60/day for food.
Tara Whitehead has photographed the meals she’s been given while in hotel quarantine in Cairns. She pays $60/day for food.

A paramedic from Queensland working in London said the dramatic reduction in flight limits was making it impossible for Australians to return home, with the only way to guarantee a flight being to book business class - "or risk being bumped for a month".

Tara Whitehead has photographed the meals she’s been given while in hotel quarantine in Cairns. She pays $60/day for food.
Tara Whitehead has photographed the meals she’s been given while in hotel quarantine in Cairns. She pays $60/day for food.

"People have sold their homes, quit their jobs and are now stuck, homeless and jobless at the mercy of airlines. This is no way to treat your citizens," Nicholas Paterson said.

Tara Whitehead has photographed the meals she’s been given while in hotel quarantine in Cairns. She pays $60/day for food.
Tara Whitehead has photographed the meals she’s been given while in hotel quarantine in Cairns. She pays $60/day for food.

 

 

Originally published as What you'll eat for $60/day in hotel quarantine


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