Brandon Loupos: Two Weeks in One Small Room

Brandon Loupos is currently stuck in a small hotel room - and will be for two weeks.

Brandon and Olivia, his girlfriend, recently traveled back to his home country and, based on COVID-19 restrictions, must remain in their hotel room for two weeks. No riding, no working out, no fresh air - just waiting. 

We caught up with Brandon to see how he's holding up and what he's doing to help the time go by.


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Before we dive into your current situation, did the $90k check cash?

Hahahaha. Yes! It took a while, but it cashed. 


Why’d you go back to Australia? You just bought a house in the USA…

Lots of reasons. As much as I love my new house and riding every day in North Carolina with an awesome crew, I felt like I was stuck in a rut for the past six months and needed change. It definitely felt like I was living the same day on repeat for a while and, if anything, I was getting worse at riding and going through some serious mental issues with how the pandemic has impacted everything around us. I thought, since there are no events, I’d rather go back to Australia, be with my family, and be away from the craziness that’s going on in America right now since Australia is going a great job with the battle against COVID-19. Most of Australia is back to normal, so why not come back and have a normal life? In America, it’s only getting worse day-by-day. I didn’t want to be around that anymore. 


What was flying like? Were the planes empty?

No, actually, which is the craziest part! There were people in the airports and airplanes without masks and not social distancing. All the domestic flights in America were quite full and cramped. The flight to Australia was quite empty, which was good. I would have thought it would have been the other way around - the domestic flights empty and the international flights full - but it seems like no one in America really cares about the pandemic and just does whatever they want anyway. 


What was arrival and customs like? Did they bring you straight to the hotel?

It wasn’t too crazy on arrival. We landed, got our temperatures tested, picked up our bags, had our bags searched, and then we got put on a bus to our hotel. Now we’re in the hotel until we’re done with our quarantine. 


Do you get to pick your hotel or is it assigned?

It was assigned and we didn’t have the option to book our own hotel either, which was a bummer.


Is everyone else in the hotel quarantining? 

Yes. It’s a quarantine hotel that’s been taken over by the government and no one else is allowed in here unless they’re police, doctors, military, or government employees. It’s pretty serious. My sister dropped a bunch of groceries off to us and she wasn’t allowed to deliver them. She had to give it to an official, then the official brought them up to our room. 


Did you get an extra big room - perhaps the presidential suite - to make this suck less?

That would have been amazing if we had that choice, but we unfortunately didn’t. We’re in a Travelodge hotel and the room is so small and cramped. Definitely a bummer.


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Are cops or government personnel there making sure you don’t leave?

Yeah. There is someone right by the elevator who’s there in case anyone tries to leave their room. They even get weirded out about us picking up our delivery from in front of our hotel room door! 


What's the punishment if you leave early?

It’s an $11,000 fine and up to six months in prison! 


So, you literally can’t exit your room? No fresh air or walks about the property?

Nope. We literally cannot leave our room for 14 days. I heard that, under special circumstances, they’ve let people outside for an hour every couple of days. Maybe we’ll explore that option when times are tough, but we’re doing okay thus far.


What are you doing for food?

The hotel provides meals, but they’re not that good. We’ve been doing Uber eats mostly, but it’s been expensive. 


What are you doing to keep entertained?

I’ve been playing my Xbox mostly. Looking out the window, waiting for the day I taste fresh air again. Taking three showers a day just because it’s something to do. Walking laps in my room just to move around. But, I got some gym equipment that is coming to the room soon, so we’ll be able to use that once we set it up. 


Does anyone ever come test you for COVID-19?

We haven’t been tested yet, but I’m sure we’ll be tested in one week since it takes two-to-fourteen days for the symptoms of COVID-19 to show. I’m sure I could just call the doctor and ask to be tested, but I know I don’t have it, so no need to test. 


Once this is done, is it vacation or time to get to work?

I’ll still be riding in Sydney! It’s by no means a vacation without riding, but I definitely won’t be doing my everyday big trick routines out here like I do at Daniel’s. But, I’ll be making the most of it and I’m excited to be riding different parks again. 


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What’s the exit process like?

I’m not too sure, actually. I’ve heard we get a certificate saying we’ve done our two week quarantine, we haven’t gotten COVID-19, we’ve been approved to be released, and we’re permitted to travel interstate and international within Australia. Not sure if someone comes and gets us out of our room and brings us down to the lobby or we go ourselves. We’ll soon find out, I suppose. 


What’s the first thing you’re going to do when you get out of there?

Every Sunday we have a BBQ at my grandpa’s house here in Sydney. So, we’re doing that and getting the whole family over as well. It’s going to be a good day for sure!


What are your plans post-quarantine in Australia?

Olivia and I are going to spend most of July in Sydney seeing family and friends, but we plan to go to Melbourne sometime. We’re definitely going up to the Gold Coast in August, so that’ll be fun, before making our way back to the USA in September. 


Do you have any BMX events on your horizon?

Nothing coming up, but we have our continental championships and National championships in the summer, so that will be a lot of fun! Looking forward to that for sure. 


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