Multiple long-term residents of the Pacific Suites hotel in Canberra have had to search for new places to live at short notice, after the accommodation was selected by the ACT government to be used as a hotel quarantine facility.
As many as 12 residents live in the Braddon-based hotel, often for a six or 12-month period.
However, residents were caught off-guard earlier this month after they were informed by hotel staff it had been selected as a quarantine facility.
There are 120 Australian citizens in quarantine at the hotel, after they arrived in Canberra on a repatriation flight on Thursday from Singapore.
The passengers, all made up of citizens who had been stranded overseas due to the pandemic, will remain in quarantine for two weeks.
Residents at the Pacific Suites were given the option of either remaining at the hotel while it was part of hotel quarantine, or having to find alternative accommodation.
In an email to residents seen by The Canberra Times, residents of the hotel electing to leave were told they would need to vacate the accommodation by November 18.
However, the email told residents the repatriation flight would arrive in Canberra on November 19, when it touched down in the ACT the following week on November 26, meaning hotel residents were who had opted to leave had done so one week early.
"ACT Health requires complete lockdown of floors for guests in quarantine," the email from the hotel said.
"With this restriction, we will not be able accommodate any guests on the majority of the floors within the hotel."
Those who had elected to leave the hotel received a a refund of their bond from Pacific Suites. It's understood there are still some residents at Pacific Suites who had decided to stay at the hotel, despite it being used as a hotel quarantine facility.
An ACT Health spokesman said officials had worked with hotel management to inform guests and ensure safety.
"Quarantining guests are not located on the same floor as long term residents and use different lifts, entry and exits from long term residents," the spokesman said.
"Hotel staff are well-trained and supported by teams from ACT Policing and ACT Health on site, who can assist long term residents with any concerns."
Accommodation for long-term residents at the Pacific Suites is solely based on level two of the complex, while guests in hotel quarantine are based on other levels of the hotel.
"[Hotel quarantine] guests are isolated to specific floors of the hotel, which do not cross over to any hotel guest or residential tenant floors," an email to residents said.
Hotel residents still staying while the accommodation was used for hotel quarantine were told to access the building only through the back entrance on Mort Street and not through the main entrance on Northbourne Avenue while repatriation flight passengers were arriving from the airport.
Long-term residents were told health officials would sanitise and disinfect all public areas of the hotel following the arrival of hotel quarantine guests.
The hotel will be used again for a second repatriation flight some time in December, with the details being finalised between the federal and ACT governments.
"After the required quarantine period of 15 nights for the first flight, we understand there will be a short changeover period before another flight arrives," an email to residents said.
The hotel was chosen by ACT health officials due to it having kitchenette facilities for those in quarantine and also access to fresh air. Pacific Suites and ACT Health were contacted for comment.