'It's like you're in prison': Isolating woman left in tears after yoga pulled

Group yoga classes have been pulled at the Grand Millennium Hotel for those in managed isolation....
Group yoga classes have been pulled at the Grand Millennium Hotel for those in managed isolation. Photo: Getty Images/File
A woman in managed isolation was left in tears for days when yoga group sessions in her hotel were canned without warning over sweat infection fears.

The 56-year-old, who is spending her fortnight holed up at the Grand Millennium Hotel in downtown Auckland, said she was upset to discover the daily guided yoga workouts she was enjoying - and needed - were suddenly stopped on questionable grounds.

"I cried for the first couple of days," said the health professional, who was returning to New Zealand after completing a short-term contract in Australia.

Things only improved after she had a personal online consolation with a healer.

"It was great," she said. "It made a lot of difference. We need things like that in managed isolation."

The woman, who does not want to be identified after she was subject to trolling on social media, said the decision to pull the classes was shortsighted, with the mental health of those in isolation at stake.

Up until Sunday, group yoga classes were available for those spending their mandatory fortnight at the Millennium. All sessions, which were held in the hotel's ballroom, observed social distancing, with mats spread across the floor and attendance numbers capped.

"Then all of a sudden I got a notice on my food bag telling me it's been banned," she said.

"I said, 'Why have you banned it? The gym is closed, exercise is limited, fresh air and sunshine is limited. This is ridiculous'. Someone said it was because those doing yoga sweated."

As a nurse familiar with Covid-related personal protection measures she was astounded at the rationale.

"It's like you're in prison. I'm sure prisoners get more sunshine than we do here."

The woman said she had since used her yoga mat and an app and exercised in her room but this didn't satisfy a need for social connection.

"It's important to be with people. It's really nice to socialise with people."

As a fitness and wellness buff who practised mindfulness and took care of her health, she said one of her biggest concerns was the limited area to get exercise and fresh air.

"I was walking up to 10km a day training for Nepal. For me to be stuck indoors is doing my head in. We only have a small area out the front which is outdoors and covered for exercise. It's very limited."

She said the lack of fresh air and exercise was impacting the wellbeing of people waiting out the fortnight isolation period.

"The Ministry of Health are denying us our basic human rights to allow people to have fresh air and sunshine and allow them to exercise.

"It goes a long way to improving people's health when they're locked inside and not allowed out.

"When the gym is closed and people are locked inside it's a way of making people sick. I just don't get it."

She said she had spoken to the Ministry of Health about the inability to exercise.

"The mental health aspect of being in managed isolation is huge," said the wellness practitioner. "We really need things like that in managed isolation."

She felt the majority of Kiwis returning to New Zealand were being penalised for the few rule-breakers. It was also luck of the draw where you ended up staying, as to how much exercise space was available.

The All-of-Government Covid response team has been approached for comment.


View all

Family "in tears" after parent dies of Covid-19. Melbourne residents "in tears" at reimposition of lockdown. Children "in tears" when vulnerable sister exposed to risk by selfish rule-breakers. This ain't about you, Buttercup.

This story blows my mind.
The term "managed Isolation" is quite clear in what should be expected from the people travelling back into NZ.
The fact that there are group activities such as yoga concerns me. Comparing this to a prison is not a fair comment.
These people choose to come back to NZ knowing that managed Isolation is a small sacrifice to make for a safe country.

More alarming is that as a taxpayer, I've been providing dollars for yoga classes, Sky TV, WiFi and air-conditioned rooms. All things I cant afford to have at my own home.

I think I'd like my taxes to go to the SPCA from now on.

New first world problems. Boo hoo.

All we hear thry the media is a very small number of people in quarantine bleating on about how tough is is. Harden up. You knew before you came back to our welcoming arms that you had to isolate for two whole weeks. If you are coming to our safe haven, sorry but thems the rules luvy. We are not forcing you to come back to NZ. If you don't like it go back to where you came from.

The complaint was bad enough, but the fact that she isn't prepared to put her name to it is downright disgusting.
What was the "Healer" she spoke with online treating her for apart from a really bad case of entitlement.
These stories should not be published if the complainant isn't prepared to give their name.

Wow, sorry we can't eradicate a pandemic without mildly inconveniencing you.

View all

Our journalists are your neighbours

We are the South's eyes and ears in crucial council meetings, at court hearings, on the sidelines of sporting events and on the frontline of breaking news.

As our region faces uncharted waters in the wake of a global pandemic, Otago Daily Times continues to bring you local stories that matter.

We employ local journalists and photographers to tell your stories, as other outlets cut local coverage in favour of stories told out of Auckland, Wellington and Christchurch.

You can help us continue to bring you local news you can trust by becoming a supporter.

Become a Supporter