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Guards used guest towels as pillows

3 weeks ago 10

Quarantine security guards stole towels – meant for detained guests – and used them as pillows while they napped on the floors of hotel corridors, an inquiry has heard.

Crown executive general manager Shaun D’Cruz told the inquiry security staff had gone into the back-of-house where linen was stored and “noticed someone had come into and used the towels”.

When questioned by the inquiry’s assisting counsellor Rachel Ellyard if the towels were being used by security guards as pillows to take naps in the corridors, Mr D’Cruz replied, “yes, it appears so”.

“They were not permitted to go into that area – that was another reason as to why I specifically brought that up because that’s something they were not supposed to do at all.”

Mr D’Cruz told the inquiry he had also noticed evidence of smoking in the hotel’s fire stairwells on vacated floors, as well as security guards “congregating” and breaching social distancing.

“There had been evidence of smoking in the fire stairwells and that a chair and wall furniture had been damaged,” he said.

“In regards to the using of facilities we provided in the way of parking … there was a report about congregating in the driveway which seemed to breach social distancing rules – that was brought to my attention by surveillance teams – that was also reported.”

Four Points by Sheraton general manager Stephen Ferrigno also told the inquiry he was concerned with the “diligence with which the security guards were performing their task”.

“They spent a lot of time watching content on their telephones, having conversations on their mobile – just generally in a fairly passive mode – sitting down for hours at a time,” he said.

Mr Ferrigno then gave evidence of an incident on June 25 where a hotel guest wandered through the site unsupervised.

“I was sitting in the rest room having a hotel briefing with two senior managers when I observed a person walking across the lobby … he had no shoes, jeans and a T-shirt and a mask covering his mouth, not nose.”

Mr Ferrigno said he told the guest to go back to his room, to which he refused, until a security guard then escorted the guest back upstairs.

“I had access to CCTV which clearly shows the individual exiting his room, to progress to the lift – the guard is not wearing a mask and looking at his phone, he seems engaged in this process. The lift then arrives and the guest enters and at that point CCTV shows the guard looking up as the doors close.”

Mr Ferrigno said he escalated the incident to the DHPR site manager, who “referred us back to the security guard site supervisor and didn’t do anything with this information”.

Mr Ferrigno then alerted Victoria Police and escalated the incident to DHHS and “other government departments “to highlight my concerns”, to which he received “no response to my email”.

The inquiry continues.

Staff from the Department of Jobs, Precincts and Regions – who established the hotel quarantine program – gave evidence at the inquiry on Thursday.

Victoria recorded 113 new coronavirus cases overnight and 12 more deaths.

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