'Guests' at city quarantine hotels are allowed to bring cigarettes and pot with them 1

‘Guests’ at city quarantine hotels are allowed to bring cigarettes and pot with them

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New York City will allow its ‘guests’ staying at city quarantine hotels to bring cigarettes and marijuana with them – staff nurse will bag, weigh, and distribute for smoke breaks. 

New York City offers eligible residents a free stay at a hotel if they are infected with COVID-19, a program that has been offered since the pandemic started in 2020 to help stop the spread of the virus by protecting family members and roommates. 

Now, residents will be allowed to bring cigarettes and marijuana with them, which has to be handed over to the staff nurse upon arrival. Patients will be allowed to smoke during their three daily outside breaks. Alcohol is not permitted. 

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'Guests' at city quarantine hotels are allowed to bring cigarettes and pot with them 2

 New York City will allow its ‘guests’ staying at city quarantine hotels – such as the LaGuardia Plaza Hotel (pictured) – to bring cigarettes and marijuana with them. The city has offered a hotel program for residents since the start of the pandemic to stop the spread of the virus, but have found that some guests were refusing the option due to not being allowed to smoke or drink. At the moment, alcohol is not permitted 

'Guests' at city quarantine hotels are allowed to bring cigarettes and pot with them 4

Guests will have to turn over their cigarettes and marijuana prior to checking in and will receive it on their three daily 15-minute breaks. Marijuana will be weighed, bagged, and distributed by the staff nurse so that no one steals another’s weed 

Jonathan Martin, 21, from Astoria, Queens, who is staying at the LaGuardia Plaza Hotel in the borough, said the staff took his weed and place it in a plastic bag when he arrived and handed it back to him on his breaks. 

Martin, a coffee shop manager, will be staying in the hotel for five days until he completes his quarantine and said he was grateful to be able to bring it with him and that it was ‘nice to relax.’ 

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‘They allow you to bring marijuana to quarantine with you, but they don’t let you bring alcohol,’ Martin told the New York Post. 

‘It’s nice to relax when I’m stuck in a room…by myself for five days,’ he told the New York Post from outside of the hotel, where he was being monitored by staff on his 15-minute break. 

He also told the New York Post that staff carefully inspected his sealed bottle of pomegranate juice when he arrive to make sure he wasn’t hiding any alcohol in it. 

At one point, the city did consider allowing guests with substance abuse to be served alcohol by staff, as they were finding that guests were refusing the quarantine option when alcohol was off-limits – causing those they lived with to have harmful exposure to the virus.

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Roughly 65 per cent of the guests staying in the LaGuardia Plaza Hotel and nearby Holiday Inn did bring marijuana with them

Roughly 65 per cent of the guests staying in the LaGuardia Plaza Hotel and nearby Holiday Inn did bring marijuana with them 

The plan was proposed by Dr. Amanda Johnson, who heads isolation and tracing for Test & Trace Corps – who is in charge of the city’s quarantine hotels – and it was reportedly meant to kept quiet, according to the New York Post. 

It is unknown the exact reason the city decided against it or if it’s still under consideration. 

Health + Hospitals, which runs Test & Trace Corps, however, said they did not serve alcohol to guests. 

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‘We do not provide guests with alcohol at the hotel.’  

Despite the no-booze rule, roughly 65 per cent of those staying in the LaGuardia Plaza Hotel and the nearby Holiday Inn do enjoy smoking pot during their stay, a source told the New York Post. 

And the recreational drug – which became legal in New York in September – is weighed by staff so that no one steals each other’s stash. This practice became standard after it was claimed that some guests claimed theirs was stolen. 

Who’s eligible for NYC’s free quarantine hotel option? 

New York City residents who test positive for coronavirus can choose to opt into a free hotel stay at one of the city’s partnered hotels. 

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Residents do have to meet certain requirements to qualify, such as living with roommates or family members. 

The city says residents are eligible if: 

  • Your home does not have space for you to stay six feet away from others
  • You share rooms or a bathroom
  • You live with someone who is vulnerable

 Rooms are also available to those who are not infected, but live with someone(s) who is. 

To get started, call 311 or 844-NYC-4NYC (1-844-692-4692) and a service provider will go through the next steps after evaluating a patient’s symptoms. 

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Source: New York City Government  

Some are critical of the stint, saying it’s ‘supporting’ addictions.  

‘I think it’s a shame. Nurses go into the field to care for patients, this is not care. Rather than offer patients help for addictions, it’s being supported,” the same insider told the New York Post. 

‘Nurses are told it’s part of the job when they attempt to refuse to accompany patients to smoke marijuana or cigarettes.’

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New York City has 330,000 COVID-19 cases at the moment, with a seven-day average of 33,000. 

The city, which started as the epicenter of the pandemic and the Omicron variant, has seen mass testing lines and record-breaking number of cases. 

The city offers a free hotel stay for up to 14 days that comes with three meals a day and transportation to and from patients’ homes.  

Nurses will check temperatures and oxygen saturation levels daily. 

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Despite the convenient option, one guest described her experience as the ‘Corona jail.’  

‘It really felt more like Corona jail than a healthcare facility,’ an unidentified woman wrote in her complaint. 

She wrote in her complaint, which was obtained by the New York Post, that she received food containing gluten – which she could not eat – and she was sent home in a car with another man, who refused to wear his mask properly and still had symptoms.

She also said she never left her room for fresh air due to the elevators always being crowded.  

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The LaGuardia Plaza Hotel reported 732 emergency calls made from the business in 2021. Six-hundred and ninety-four calls were made for an ambulance. The reasons for ambulances were not disclosed. 

Test & Trace Corps has helped 30,000 New Yorkers to date and said they are ‘proud’ to ‘provide a safe place’ for residents.  

‘We are proud that our hotels have provided a safe place to isolate or quarantine for nearly 30,000 New Yorkers to date, and will continue to offer this critical tool for as long as the pandemic continues.’

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