Many hotels have advertised complimentary Covid-19 tests to fulfill the United States’ requirements for returning passengers to have tested negative for the virus.
But, as I have previously pointed out, there are risks involved when you travel during the pandemic and have not been vaccinated or haven’t had Covid-19 previously. There is always a chance of getting it for the second time or even when vaccinated, too.
What can you or the hotel do when a guest tests positive before their flight back to the US or any other destination that requires a negative Covid-19 test?
You should always take a second test to confirm the first one, but this already may make you miss your original flight, and airlines are not requried to rebook you without a fee.
What if you test positive and are required to isolate and must take time off from work? Your weekend vacation outside of the country may turn into a two to three-week quarantine at a high cost, plus hotel quarantine expenses, and possible salary loss unless you can work remotely.
Why am I writing about this now?
One of the departing guests had tested positive using a rapid test. The result from the second person from the same party was negative. The couple was planning to do PCR-RT or other tests to confirm the first one, but obviously, this would alter their travel plans.
This raised a few questions:
1. Is the resort going to test all the employees who were close to this person?
2. Are they going to inform all guests that one had tested positive, and they probably should test too and quarantine if they were nearby?
3. Is the guest required to quarantine at the resort for 10 or so days, after which they would be “fit to fly”? The PCR-RT test itself would probably still come back as positive for leftover RNA like was the case with me when I had (see the posts below).
4. Had the couple factored in this possibility of having to pay another $2,000 to $3,000 in hotel cost (even with the Hyatt’s 50% best flexible and 25% F&B discount)?
5. They could theoretically enter the US through a land border. Still, they could lie on the preflight form for domestic flights that one of the party members had tested positive and the other had been in close proximity to a positive person in the past 14 days.
I was in touch with Hyatt’s spokesperson about the procedures in place in case such as this happens that must not be a rare occurrence, especially in one of their bigger properties in Latin America:
Here is Hyatt’s response
The safety and wellbeing of guests and colleagues is always a top priority. All Hyatt hotels, including Hyatt hotels in Mexico, continue to adhere to the latest requirements set by governmental authorities and follow precautionary measures and guidelines developed in consideration of guidance and information from various health organizations including the World Health Organization (WHO) and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
As an extension of Hyatt’s Global Care & Cleanliness Commitment and following the CDC’s expanded requirements for a negative COVID-19 test to all air passengers entering the United States within the three days before their flight to the U.S. departs, all 19 Hyatt resorts in Mexico, Costa Rica, the Caribbean and South America have arranged for a complimentary COVID-19 test for up to two registered guests per guestroom per stay through May 31, 2021, for guests traveling to the U.S. (minimum length of stay requirements apply and vary by property). Complimentary rapid antigen or RT-PCR testing options (both approved tests per CDC guidelines) vary by property.
To further care for any guest who is required to extend their stay due to a delay in testing or test results or a positive test result prior to their return flight, Hyatt hotels and resorts across Mexico, Central America, the Caribbean and South America offer a special Travel Delay Rate, extending a 50% and 25% savings on standard rates at full service and select service hotels, respectively, as well as up to a 30% discount on their food and beverage at the hotel (excluding alcohol). Resort fees are also waived. The rate is valid for stays up to 14 nights, no minimum length of stay is required at this time and guests must book with hotel directly while on property.
If a guest is required to self-isolate after their COVID-19 test, Hyatt hotels will work with the guest and local health authorities to either accommodate guests on property or assist them with relocating to a local hospital or quarantine center until they recover and are approved by local authorities to travel again.
For more information on Hyatt’s Global Care & Cleanliness Commitment and measures hotels are taking globally in an effort to keep colleagues and guests safe, please visit hyatt.com/care-and-cleanliness. Further questions regarding specific situations should be directed to Mexico’s Department of Public Health.
I pushed for more and received additional information:
When receiving news of a confirmed case among a guest or colleagues, Hyatt hotels elevate precautionary operational protocols, including a thorough impact analysis and contact tracing, informing all colleagues and potentially impacted guests of a confirmed case among a guest or colleague, enhanced cleaning measures in public areas, restaurants, meeting spaces, and the spa and fitness center and more.
Hyatt hotels continue to remain vigilant and follow guidelines and protocols developed in consideration of information from various health organizations including the World Health Organization (WHO), U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), local authorities and other leading organizations and experts.
Here are my Covid-19 experiences:
It is inevitable that cases such as what I witnessed will take place. I am not sure if the person tested positive or negative on the subsequent test(s).
Can you imagine flying to the Maldives or Polynesia and extending your stay there for two weeks if you test positive?
How many can afford a hotel and F&B bill to the tune of $20K to $30K plus possible change fees with the airline or having to buy a new ticket back to home?
I have had Covid-19, as I have previously disclosed, and it is unlikely that I would get infected again soon. I have, however, witnessed behavior here in Mexico that would ensure that someone non-infected person surely would get Covid-19 if they would be anywhere near some establishments full of people, drinking, having a good time, and without masks, obviously.