The media has spent a lot of time reporting on the issues that have plagued hotel quarantine. Well, to keep things balanced, it’s important for the media to address how hotel quarantine has also helped the spread of another disease: the love bug.
That’s exactly what 27-year-old Vanessa Rocis came down with when she flew home from Belgium in May last year. Trapped inside her quarantine hotel for 14 days, Ms Rocis joined a Facebook group for other people who were also stuck in quarantine so that they could bond over their shared isolation, which might be the first recorded case in recent history of Facebook actually bringing people together.
After joining the group, she checked her DMs to find that a certain Anthony Thomas, 27, had slid into them, and he revealed that he was staying on the floor directly below hers. It sounds like the start of You’ve Got Mail but instead of an email it’s a Facebook message, and instead of being set in New York City it’s set in the Travelodge Hotel in the midst of a worldwide pandemic.
What we’re trying to say is, this is a great start to a romantic comedy and this couple should strongly consider selling the rights to their story to the highest bidder.
Speaking to the ABC, Ms Rocis said: “It was really nice to hear from someone else.”
The couple got talking and eventually became friends playing online scrabble (fun fact, ‘COVID’ is worth 11 points in Scrabble) and watching Netflix together from different rooms.
“We were always talking about what was coming up for lunch, and warning each other when nurses were coming around to do COVID tests,” she told the ABC. Any relationship that can survive routine COVID swabs certainly has a strong foundation.
Finally, after two weeks of what could be best described as a ‘close’-distance relationship, the couple had their first official date in person in the outside world where they enjoyed a picnic together during their government-mandated 60 minutes of outdoor time during Melbourne’s second lockdown. How romantic!
Still together a year after being released from their hotel rooms, Mr Thomas is grateful that something good came out of last year. “If you dive down into the chances of us meeting and ending up together, it’s so low,” Mr Thomas said. That is true. In fact, the World Health Organisation is currently in Wuhan trying to determine exactly the chances of them ever meeting.
We wish the new couple all the best for the future. If they do end up getting married, they should have the reception at the Travelodge Hotel and whoever ate that bat should be their celebrant.