NewsCitrus, Hernando County


Crystal River couple's return to Florida delayed, after nearly a month of quarantine for coronavirus

Gay Courter quarantined
Posted at 10:20 PM, Mar 01, 2020
and last updated 2020-03-03 09:22:51-05

TEXAS — Sunday was supposed to be the last day of quarantine for Phil and Gay Courter, the Crystal River couple who was first quarantined aboard a cruise ship in Japan, and is now quarantined at an Air Force base in Texas.

The Courters packed their bags and were ready to board an airplane back to Florida sometime Monday, but, according to an email sent to ABC Action News, their return has been delayed.
"Mom and Dad, as well as the other Diamond Princess passengers at Joint Base Lackland, will not be immediately returning home today, as planned.

The buses to take them to their release points have left the base empty.

Our current understanding is that the Governor of Texas ordered this delay. We will send an update when we know more.

Mom and Dad continue to appear in good health."


“I’m trying to see the bright side, I am a writer and this is a really good story,” said Gay Courter.

Gay Courter said she has already put in a pitch for her new book, which is all based on a true story.

“We just didn’t know it would be about us,” said Courter.

The story of the Crystal River couple, who set off on a cruise destined for paradise, but instead ended elsewhere.

“We are prisoners of an unusual kind,” said Courter.

The Courters were quarantined for nearly two weeks aboard the Diamond Princess cruise ship in Japan, before being flown to the Lackland Air Force Base in Texas for their final two-week quarantine.

“Initially when we arrived here, and seeing all those people protected against us, I felt like I was radioactive,” said Courter.

Now their sights are set on the paradise they call home.

“Mostly I’m looking forward to our puppy, our children and grandchildren,” said Courter.

The Courters say they’re being constantly monitored, and neither of them has tested positive for the coronavirus.

“We’re probably the best tested people out there,” said Courter.

But the saga isn’t quite over for them, the Courters say they have some emotional healing to do.

“We have some effects from this. I’m not going to kid you. We have, I guess what you would call PTSD,” said Courter.

The Courters say they had a trip to Africa planned for March 30, but they say they’re not in the emotional state to be traveling right now. They did, however, say they would be boarding a cruise ship again, just not anytime in the immediate future.