Crystal River couple returns to Florida after nearly a month of quarantine

Posted at 10:08 PM, Mar 05, 2020

CRYSTAL RIVER, Fla. -- The Crystal River couple who spent nearly a month in quarantine after boarding a cruise ship in January is now back in Florida.

The couple spent 12 days in quarantine aboard the Diamond Princess cruise ship in Japan due to a coronavirus outbreak before returning to American soil, and quarantining for another two weeks at Lackland Air Force Base in Texas.

The couple was planning to return on Monday, but their so-called "vacation" took another unexpected turn.

“We’d been in various kinds of control and quarantine for a full month, and all packed and ready to go, and then suddenly we weren’t,” said Gay Courter.


The Mayor of San Antonio had declared a public health emergency, preventing those quarantined at Lackland Air Force Base from leaving.

“When they stopped us from leaving after everything we’d been through, I have to say, I panicked. I just lost it,” said Courter.

That’s when the Courters started making phone calls. The couple had a form of travel insurance that was there for emergency transport if ever needed.

“It was highly unlikely to ever use this rider,” said Courter.

But they were really glad they had it. Just the next day, a private jet arrived to bring Phil and Gay back to Florida.

“We went to Japan with all our credit points we’d saved up First Class, then we come back to the United States Cargo Class on this horrible experience, and then we have this for the final leg of the trip. It was the most unusual transportation ever,” said Courter.

Now the Courters say they’re looking forward to spending time with family, in the place they call home.

“I’m looking out at Crystal River right now from my office and a little while ago, we had dolphins leaping and pelicans flying. This is the most beautiful place in the world,” said Courter.

Gay Courter is a novelist and she said she plans to write a book about this entire experience.