“#NYC proposal calls for serving booze at COVID quarantine hotels”
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A bizarre city proposal would serve up cocktails to alcoholic, COVID-positive guests who are quarantining at hotels on the taxpayer dime.
A top official at the city Health + Hospitals Corp. last month proposed serving booze to thirsty guests with substance issues because the agency was finding they were rejecting the free quarantine lodging where drugs and alcohol are off-limits.
“This is not the time to mandate sobriety or abruptly begin treatment of alcohol use disorder,” according to a copy of the plan seen by The Post.
The hotels were set up in April as places for COVID-positive or virus-exposed New Yorkers who couldn’t risk returning home or for recovering patients to isolate, to stop the spread of the deadly bug.
It was unclear how much or what kind of booze would be dispensed, and if the guests would access their alcohol through a lobby bar, room service or in-room mini-bars. It did mention that guests would be screened for issues like alcohol-induced seizures.
The plan was put together by Dr. Amanda Johnson, who heads the tracing and isolation operation for the city’s Test & Trace Corps, according to a source. Johnson appears in commercials that air frequently urging New Yorkers to get tested for the coronavirus.
But she apparently wanted to keep the cocktail plan quiet. Her proposal calls for avoiding “a mass media press release” to get the word out, and suggests directly informing health care centers and psychiatric programs instead.
The city is offering free stays at the LaGuardia Plaza hotel in Queens, and some 1,600 people have used the lodging.
The program is staffed with nurses, security guards, hall monitors, social workers and others.
But a guest, who an insider said was positive for both COVID-19 and HIV and had mental health issues, checked himself out earlier this month without telling anyone, leaving staffers to unsuccessfully try to track him down for days.
“We do not provide guests with alcohol at the hotel,” a Health + Hospitals spokeswoman said, but would not comment on whether the booze plan was still under consideration.
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