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Florida couple’s dream vacation cut short by coronavirus lockdown in Peru

Posted at 8:15 PM, Mar 27, 2020
and last updated 2020-03-30 02:01:12-04

HILLSBOROUGH COUNTY, Fla. — A suite on the 9th floor of a Lima, Peru, hotel is home for a Florida couple from Dunedin.

Husband and wife Lynn Johnson and Kathleen McMullen landed in Peru on March 11 for a two-week vacation. They enjoyed a few days at the dunes and the Pacific Ocean, but on March 16, the Peruvian government issued a curfew and lockdown order.

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“They really cracked down, and they have a curfew from 8 p.m. to 5 a.m.,” Johnson said. “Anybody driving a car has to have a permit as to why. We think they were smart by locking everybody in. They have less than 600 cases and dropping.”

The couple reached out to local politicians. Email correspondence between the couple and Senator Marco Rubio’s office shows that the couple is two of thousands of Americans stranded in Peru.

So far, according to state department emails to Johnson, more than 1,800 Americans evacuated back to the United States. But, Johnson and McMullen are in a holding pattern.

“We have no idea where we are on the list,” Johnson said. “Right now, we are told that we are going to get an email the day before and we are supposed to find our way to a rallying point and at that rallying point will be a bus that will take us to an airport.”

The couple has a flight scheduled for Miami on April 13, but with so much uncertainty, they worry that date will come and go.

“We are fearful they will extend the quarantine another two weeks,” McMullen said.

Johnson forwarded an email to ABC Action News reporter Michael Paluska with the latest information. It was not the email confirmation home they were hoping to receive.

This message is not a flight confirmation. Please do not proceed to the airport until you receive a separate confirmation email that you are on the next flight…. We are still processing hundreds of requests for repatriation. We are adding names to manifests as quickly as we can. Once we add you to a flight manifest, we will send you a confirmation email that will include an Embassy-issued travel letter and specific instructions to follow. You will also receive a link to a form that indicates you will pay the U.S. government back for the costs of travel after returning to the United States.

If the couple takes a shopping bag with them, they say no one will stop them as they go on daily walks to the store for food. The Pacific Ocean is just off in the distance and is so close, yet so far.

“He’s an eagle scout. He knows how to keep it together in control,” McMullen said.