Jay Gillieatt says he was “shocked” after receiving an email informing him that the hotel adjacent to his apartment building would become special accommodation for COVID-19 patients for the next six months.
âThis was the first time we had heard of it and there was no word from NSW Health,â the Meriton Waterloo Suites tenant told AAP. âWe weren’t consulted at all.
On Friday, the owners received an email from an attorney for the Meriton Group informing them that NSW Health had taken over the Meriton Suites building.
Emergency exits shared between the hotel and apartments would be guarded and activated with alarms, and there would be high pressure fences in the parking lot to separate the residential parking lot and the hotel area, according to the email.
The next day, the third-party property manager informed the rest of the residents like Mr Gillieatt of the medi-hotel and advised them to contact NSW Health or Meriton directly with any questions.
Mr Gillieatt said the lack of details provided to residents was “concerning”.
“I understand we need to put special accommodation somewhere and it’s a very good thing that NSW Health is taking people out of contexts where they might be spreading (the virus) but I question the wisdom of using a building which is attached to residential apartments through several common areas, âhe said.
Tenants have a habit of taking precautions after the complex was identified as a massively-used exhibition site following a party on the first day of the closure of Greater Sydney.
âThere was a lot of anxiety in that building when there was this outbreak and a lot of us thought there was a real risk that we could have been infected,â Mr Gillieatt said. “My partner and I went to get tested at the time because we knew they shared the garbage and the parking lot.”
A spokesperson for NSW Health said the recent significant increase in COVID-19 cases and their close contacts in Sydney have resulted in an urgent need for more quarantine accommodation.
âNSW Health has undertaken a site risk assessment and is working with Meriton to ensure that safety boundaries will be in place between Special Health Accommodation and areas adjacent to the site,â the spokesperson told AAP.
“Detailed information regarding the use of the hotel and the strict security measures in place will be provided to the management of the strata for distribution to the occupants of the building.”
The spokesperson said “strict safeguards,” including CCTV on every floor and 24/7 security personnel, would be in place to ensure that those isolated do not gain access to any area. shared with the other occupants of the building.
Another resident, who asked not to be named, expressed concern about “holes” in the proposed measures.
“There is security and fencing and that’s about it, but they gave no indication of deep cleaning and no indication of the vaccination of security guards,” he told AAP.
The resident said he called building management to express his concerns and was told the patient’s accommodation would be guarded by “private security”.
“There is concern that if you have one or two drongos upstairs and they decide to go through the fire escape stairs, private security does not have the capacity to prevent them from leaving as you need the police to stop the movements, âhe said.
He is concerned about which parking lot entrances or exits would be shared with COVID-19 patients and whether air conditioning would be separate or improved with filters to prevent the spread of the virus.
Meriton did not respond to a request for comment.