Fritz said the during the lockdown the hotel had not exceeded 40% capacity.
The Radisson is one of 256 quarantine sites in the Eastern Cape — 71 state-owned and 185 privately owned — that to date have cost the department of public works more than R20m.
While the department of public works is getting a bargain at R650 per patient per day at the Radisson — far less than the R1,800 one can book a room for at present — staff at the hotel are less than thrilled, saying they fear the patients who go on walkabout.
“How do you know when you get in a lift that the person in there with you is a guest or a patient?” one staff member asked, adding that some patients were wandering around “as if it is just another ordinary day”.
“The patients are stubborn and won’t stay in their rooms.”
Another said now that the buffet at the hotel restaurant had reopened the fear was that “the patients who won’t stay in their rooms come and queue with the other guests”.
A third employee was horrified when told that, because of staff shortages, employees would have to do work beyond the scope of their normal duties, including making the beds of people in quarantine.
“We have to go back to our families, we have children and we don’t feel safe,” the staff member said.
She said even though rooms were disinfected, many staff did not want to be in contact with the bedding of Covid-19 guests.
All staff members interviewed asked to remain anonymous, with one saying: “We are all just scared of losing our jobs. We are worried but we still need our jobs.”
Fritz denied the hotel was short-staffed and said it had recently received the SGS Disinfection Monitored and Cleaning Checked mark by SGS, “the world’s leading inspection, verification, testing and certification company”.