Utah residents stranded in Guatemala

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Krissa and Kent Hendricks on a boat in Guatemala.

SALT LAKE CITY — Krissa Hendricks thought she was going on a fun-filled trip with her father to Croatia. Once COVID-19 started spreading more rapidly, they decided to hop on some cheaper plane tickets to Guatemala, a country that had no cases of the novel coronavirus at the time. 

On St. Patrick’s Day, Guatemala closed its borders to the outside world and any potential coronavirus threats. Hendricks, her father, and a handful of traveling Americans were trapped. 

“My dad and I rushed 12 hours across the country in a bus and an Uber trying to get to the border on time,” Hendricks recalled, “but we got ourselves stuck in a remote town with no transportation and no way out.” 

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Hendricks and her father reached out on social media to ask anyone for help or connections. Eventually, they heard that some people were able to cross at the Mexican border and catch a flight back to Utah. They jumped at the chance and made it safely home on March 20th

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Travel Recommendations from the CDC

Unfortunately, Hendricks’ story isn’t unique. Hundreds of tourists and travelers have been caught in these country lockdowns because of coronavirus. The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) have even said that travelers returning to the U.S. from China, Spain, Italy, Iran, France, the United Kingdom, Norway, Sweden and Iceland will not be allowed back into the United States at this time. 

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On March 19th, the Department of State issued a Global Level 4 Health Advisory – Do Not Travel. They’re advising U.S. citizens not to travel in hopes of decreasing the spread of COVID-19.

Krissa Hendricks and Kent Hendricks with a group of Americans crossing the Mexico border.
Krissa and Kent Hendricks with a group of Americans crossing the Mexico border. 

If you or a loved one is traveling for any reason, the CDC has an ongoing list of travel health notices, including COVID-19 outbreaks and what to do if you start feeling sick. You can read those notices online at https://wwwnc.cdc.gov/travel/notices/.

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