Hoteliers caught by the throat because of the drop in traffic turn a blind eye to parties in their rooms despite the tightening of sanitary measures and the imposition of a curfew.
• Read also: An industry in agony with the pandemic
The Dr François Marquis, head of intensive care at Maisonneuve-Rosemont hospital, strongly denounced the “small schemes” of hoteliers to bypass the curfew when there are so many “people who make a lot of sacrifices”.
During the last week, we called more than forty establishments across the province on the pretext of wanting to organize a small party for the 30e friend’s birthday by the end of the month.
We told them we wanted to bring together up to ten guests and check if we could book rooms for the group. It was then mentioned that the revelers would undoubtedly meet in a room, asking if that was a problem.
As a result, a quarter of the hoteliers contacted indicated that they would accept reservations by warning that group meetings were not desirable, but by slipping that no verification was carried out.
In fact, the employee’s unease was often noticeable on the end of the phone, but sometimes the ability to rent five rooms at once seemed to win out.
“We are not the police”
Others even offered accommodations to break the rules.
“Of course we are a business here. We are not the police, ”said the receptionist at the Comfort Inn in Boucherville, in Montérégie.
She then suggested making individual reservations so that there is “no proof that there will be meetings.”
At Hôtel Le Montagnais, in Saguenay, it was mentioned that “renting spacious adjoining rooms” could be a solution.
“You don’t go into the rooms unless the police do a check. Once there, it’s you who takes the risk, ”said the receptionist.
These ways of doing things disappoint the Dr Marquis, who sees the ravages of COVID-19 and the burden on the health system on a daily basis.
“I learned that the hospitality industry uses all kinds of petty schemes to allow people to bypass [le couvre-feu]. It saddened me because I think that all industries must be part of the solution, because we have all made concessions, ”he said on TVA a few days ago.
“To know that there are possibilities to rent hotel rooms to party and that no one is asking questions […] ; I think it is time for the government to ask questions about what is going on in the hotel industry, ”he said.
If hoteliers have seemed to turn a deaf ear when potential customers mention a gathering, several have refused to play the game, despite difficult times.
“If I know you want to do this, I can’t book you a room.” If you go through a site to book your rooms, get together and find out, you will have to leave the hotel, ”warned the receptionist at the Grand Times Hotel in Drummondville.
The Hôtel le Victorin, in Victoriaville, and the Delta hotel in Sherbrooke also refused to rent, to name a few.
In Granby, the Castel hotel invited our group to call back after February 8 (end of the curfew), because “you have to respect public health rules, no matter where you are,” said an employee.
Isolate party animals
The sales manager for Manoir Saint-Sauveur, in the Laurentians, did not hesitate to suggest grouping the five party-goers’ rooms together at the back of the hotel and leaving the nearby rooms vacant to prevent other customers from complaining. noise.
“In theory, these people [amis] should be in their room and you in yours, but what you do in your rooms is none of our business. The only thing is if someone makes a noise complaint, but we can organize to isolate you, ”she suggested, even offering a discount due to the number of rooms rented.
For the head of customer service, it is surely a “misunderstanding”, because “we are more on horseback” on health measures.
A little moment “it’s okay”
The receptionist at the Hôtel Escad Quartier DIX30, in the Montérégie region, specifies that “as much as possible” people in one room should live at the same address, “but otherwise, it is possible to rent several rooms”.
“Of course we do not favor [les rassemblements]. To be fair, we won’t be there looking at you in the rooms, there are no cameras. So yes for a little while, it’s okay, just not that it disturbs and that it stretches ”, she explains on the phone.
Called to react, the general manager of the hotel, Jean Philip Dupre, said he was surprised by such comments. According to him, hotel policy states that guests who are not from the same bubble cannot share a room and security monitors to prevent illegal gatherings.
Hard to refuse
Reluctant at first for a group to come together, the attendant at the Quality Suites in Drum-mondville softens her speech when people pretend to look elsewhere: touchy a little there. We are not in a position to refuse customers. ”
“If it’s really quiet, let’s do it really by-the-book and that there is no noise […], that the doors are closed, that I have no complaints, that would be something that would be done, ”she conceded. She added that the hotel would “do everything in its power” to provide rooms nearby.
“We accept everyone […] Five families with five different addresses, we can accept them, but we restrict the comings and goings in the corridor, ”tempered in reaction a director, who refused to identify himself. He says the hotel gives warnings, although it cannot “tell people what to do in their closed rooms.”
At your own risk
Photo QMI Agency, Roger Gagnon
After having mentioned the rules of use, in particular the “no more than one address per room”, the receptionist of Montagnais, in Saguenay, proposed an alternative.
“If you want, for example, we can always rent you spacious adjoining rooms. Once there, it’s you, it’s your rooms. You don’t go into the rooms unless the police do a check. Once there, it’s you who takes the risk. ”
“This is not the message from management. Is it someone who wanted to do well? ” reacted the co-owner, Jean-Benoit Gilbert, visibly uncomfortable.
Forbidden … in theory
At the Quality Inn & Suites, in Victoriaville, the receptionist did not do much to discourage our reporter who asked if she could gather some friends in a room.
“In theory no, according to government recommendations. On the other hand, when we rent rooms, it’s for people 18 and over, so people are responsible. […] I don’t think there will be an inspection, a police visit or anything, but if you do, it is sure that you are responsible for your actions, ”she explained.
Joined by The newspaper, Deputy director Ariane Laroche said the hotel was monitoring to avoid gatherings. “If we see customers doing this, yes we will warn them. But if they do it in secret, we don’t have control, ”she said.
During our call to the Dauphin, in Quebec, no questions were asked about the planned party: “I have several available so if you want four. [chambres], there is no problem.”
“You can take the reservation on the internet and call us to say that such reservations with such names, we would like that to be on the same floor,” we are told.
Reaction of the director Annie-Claude Ste-Croix: “I will take your example to follow up with our teams, but that would not have been possible once there.”
Leave no evidence
After recalling that gatherings are prohibited, the receptionist at the Comfort Inn South Shore, in Boucherville, nevertheless suggested making five individual reservations, rather than a group one so as not to “leave evidence of a gathering”.
She also said hotel workers rarely patrol the hallways and there is no camera to check guest movement between rooms.
For the general manager of the hotel, Marthe Langlois, “it’s not something that is done at the hotel”.
“The other customers, if they see that, it is sure that there will be complaints and they will call the police,” she explains.
Natasha Kumar has been a reporter on the news desk since 2018. Before that she wrote about young adolescence and family dynamics for Styles and was the legal affairs correspondent for the Metro desk. Before joining The Times Hub, Natasha Kumar worked as a staff writer at the Village Voice and a freelancer for Newsday, The Wall Street Journal, GQ and Mirabella. To get in touch, contact me through my firstname.lastname@example.org 1-800-268-7116