CORTLAND, N.Y. (WSYR-TV) — After attempting to quarantine at the Holiday Inn Express in the City of Cortland, Joshua Wright was unexpectedly charged more than $1,000 for a cleaning fee.
It was last Friday when Wright tested positive for COVID-19. He was told by the Department of Health that he needed to quarantine.
As an employee at Guthrie Medical Center and a husband and father of three, he needed somewhere to stay for 10 days.
“So, my next thought was to go to a hotel because where else was I supposed to go?” said Wright.
He ended up at the Holiday Inn Express in Cortland. That Friday morning, he said he told the clerk at the front desk that he was there to quarantine.
Wright said the clerk then lowered his rate, laying out the rules that come with isolation. This meant no visitors and if someone does need to bring food, it should be left at the door.
Wright gave the clerk his credit card and then went up to his room. An hour later, he received a call from the general manager.
“She said ‘we’re also going to have to charge you $700 from an outside agency or source’ and I said, ‘woah, woah, woah, I’m not comfortable with paying $700, I was not made aware of this before I got the keys to the room,” said Wright.
Wright said the general manager told him that was the policy, but when he asked for proof, he was told that there wasn’t any.
The next day he was told the cleaning charge would be $1,200.
That is when he left and found another place to quarantine. But, the first hotel had already charged him for the cleaning fee and refused to give him a refund.
The general manager told NewsChannel 9 that it is their policy to not allow anyone to quarantine at their hotel. She also said that her hotel is independently owned and following its own protocols.
The general manager sent the following statement:
“The health and safety of our guests and colleagues is our top priority every day, and we are working diligently during COVID-19 to protect everyone in our hotel. We have implemented a variety of enhanced cleaning and disinfection procedures, as well as COVID-19 best practices, and will continue to do so.
Recently, we had a guest who tested positive for COVID-19. Upon notification, we immediately took measures to isolate the guest on one floor. Out of an abundance of caution, and to protect our guests and colleagues, the guest’s room was professionally decontaminated by SERVPRO of Tompkins and Tioga Counties in accordance with CDC guidelines. The enhanced cleanup was required for the area occupied by a confirmed positive for COVID-19 and included the cleaning and disinfecting of all nonporous surfaces and cleaning and sanitizing of all porous surfaces.
Currently, the professionally disinfected guestroom is out of order and will remain so for the next month.”
Though Wright did end up getting a refund, he doesn’t want anyone else to go through this.
The Cortland County Health Department said they do have an agreement with SUNY Cortland for mandatory quarantine cases for people who need to stay, but that will be over by the end of the month.
They charge those quarantining a nightly rate of $134. The county acknowledged that if more demand for space to quarantine arises, they may have to come up with different options.