Guests from hotel quarantine were taken out on walks for exercise, the state’s Hotel Quarantine Inquiry has heard.

Employees at the South Wharf DFO spotted the guests near the outlet in mid-April, reporting the incidents to police.

Police were reportedly unaware that the guests had been allowed out until the report was made.

The quarantine guests were staying at the Pan Pacific Hotel at South Wharf, and had been permitted to go out for walks around the hotel’s driveway after authorities became concerned for the guests’ mental health.

A staff member from Vicinity Centres, the company that runs the South Wharf DFO, sent pictures of guests outside of the hotel, while reporting that another tried to enter a nearby convenience store.

The news that hotel guests were being taken out for exercise prompted Victorian Police Commander Tim Tully to call a meeting with the security firms looking after the quarantine hotel program.

Commander Tully told the inquiry that operators of the nearby DFO had become concerned about the safety of allowing quarantine guests out around the centre.

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The DFO was still open to the public at that stage.