A mum in quarantine has reportedly been told by the hotel she’s in that supplying appropriate food for her 10-month-old daughter is not required because children under three don’t pay.
Ashleigh Seymour arrived back in Australia from Italy, where she was working as a winemaker, with her baby Adelaide on December 16.
She flew into Brisbane, leaving her husband and three-year-old son behind, and was put in the Mantra hotel on Edward.
When she finally reached her hotel at 2am after 40 hours of travelling, she said she was surprised to find no food in the room.
But a bigger shock was to come in the morning when she discovered the breakfast that had been left for her young daughter had options like Coco Pops, white bread and yoghurt “full of sugar”.
Mrs Seymour rang reception to ask what the hotel could supply that was appropriate and healthy for her daughter.
“The lady said ‘We don’t really have anything. I’ll see what I can scrounge up and came up and knocked at the door and started yelling at me,” Mrs Seymour told news.com.au.
“She was standing down the hallway and said basically because infants don’t pay for hotel quarantine they aren’t really required to supply them with any appropriate food.”
Mrs Seymour said the receptionist claimed that it was a Queensland Health policy, and she reached out to the department to find out more. However, she said her questions were avoided in a phone call and she was told to email in a complaint.
A Queensland Health spokesperson told news.com.au: “Several departments across the Queensland Government work closely with quarantine providers, especially new hotels, to ensure they are meeting expectations. Individual hotels are responsible for the daily operations of hotel quarantine. Meals are provided by the hotel.”
During her eight days of quarantine, Mrs Seymour, 35, said she has been supplied a few baby food pouches and some rock hard vegetables, but three meals a day was not enough for her baby.
She said most the of the food delivered was catered towards adults and was also full of salt and sugar. She claimed the hotel also incorrectly delivered a meal with egg, despite Adelaide suffering allergies.
Mrs Seymour said she felt lucky she had a kitchen, unlike many other hotel rooms where people were quarantining around Australia.
She also had loved ones drop off some food and kitchen gear for her daughter and order in groceries, but estimated they have forked out $200 already on supplies. The cost of quarantine for one adult in Queensland is $2800.
“I have spent a lot of money getting back here and in quarantine already. My husband has lost his job and hasn’t been working for six months, so we haven’t got a huge amount of money to fling around buy a lot of extra stuff,” Mrs Seymour said.
“We are very lucky to have fresh air and more than just a kettle to make her some basic fruits and vegetables. I don’t think she’s getting much meat, but I don’t want to order too much more stuff that is just going to get wasted. There is food they keep sending which is going in the bin, which is concerning a lot as there is no recycling.”
A spokeswoman for Mantra on Edward in Brisbane said the hotel provided food and provisions for all for guests completing their quarantine period at the hotel, including infants.
Mrs Seymour said she was grateful to be home but felt a responsibility to ensure conditions were good for people quarantining in the future. She wants to see food provided that is appropriate for children’s ages, which is also healthy to eat.
“I think QLD Health has a duty of care for who is in quarantine. It’s obviously not our choice to be in quarantine. I’m happy to do quarantine to protect the health of Australia, but at the same time we don’t have any control over that,” she said.