Penny's Bay Quarantine Center will stop taking new reservations for foreign domestic helpers coming to work in Hong Kong starting next Monday, and a hotel will take its place.
Regala Skycity Hotel in Chek Lap Kok will serve as a new quarantine hotel and provide 1,138 rooms starting January next year, the government said in a release issued on Wednesday.
"As the Omicron variant is spreading rapidly around the world, the government needs to reserve all rooms at the Penny's Bay Quarantine Centre for quarantine purposes in order to prevent the variant from entering the community," it stated.
Helpers staying at Penny's Bay who will complete their quarantine before January 5, 2022 can continue staying there. Those who will complete the quarantine on or after January 5, 2022, will be transferred to Regala Skycity Hotel in phases starting Saturday (Jan 1).
If the employer has reserved a room at Penny's Bay for the helper and received an SMS acknowledging receipt of the reservation, but the helper has yet to check-in, the Labour Department will inform them through email about the relevant arrangements.
For employers who have further received a confirmation email from the Department, if the helpers they hire would check in at the quarantine center before Saturday, they will be transferred to Regala to continue the quarantine.
If the helpers were supposed to check-in at the quarantine center on or after Saturday, they would be arranged to check-in directly at Regala upon arrival in Hong Kong.
Employers and agencies need not arrange the transfer or direct check-in at Regala. The government will bear relevant costs, including the difference in room rates between the hotel and the quarantine center.
Helpers will have to test negative for Covid
-19 24 hours before checking in at the hotel.
Most rooms will be reserved for helpers currently staying at the quarantine center, while the remaining rooms will open to other newly arrived helpers.
Starting 9.30am tomorrow (Thursday), employers and agencies can reserve a room on or after January 5, 2022, through the online booking system of Regala. A fee of HK$750 per night per room, including three meals, and all charges will be payable.
The hotel will adjust the number of rooms open for reservation each day, considering the overall booking situation.