Local couple shares experience in Ireland during coronavirus outbreak

Posted at 12:15 PM, Mar 19, 2020
and last updated 2020-03-19 17:01:05-04

LIMERICK, Ireland - A local couple is trying to make their way back from Ireland, a country that’s on a list that has new arrival restrictions for United States citizens, according to Homeland Security.

Brandon Davis from Portsmouth and his girlfriend were flying home from the London Heathrow Airport Thursday morning.

He said there were not a lot of people in the airport. He said they flew to Ireland on March 9 and spent 10 days in Ireland and are now returning home from their trip.

They were visiting her family who live there and were excited to spend St. Patrick's Day in the country, but the coronavirus changed some of their plans.

Davis said when President Trump first spoke about the travel restrictions on March 11 they believed they needed to leave immediately.

He said they packed their bags and headed to the airport, but they realized the ban was for foreign nationals. He said they discussed leaving early, but their airline was initially charging them $1,000 to change their plans, so the couple decided to stay in Ireland. He said the airline has since changed that policy and told them they could return for free if they needed to change their flight.

Davis said the coronavirus has people in Ireland taking precautions, just like in the United States.

"It’s a lot of everything being shut down, with literally every pub and every restaurant closed. Literally the only thing open are grocery stores and pharmacies," said Davis.

He shared pictures of empty shelves and limited groceries and said there are signs all over encouraging people to practice social distancing.

"Every time Trump makes an announcement we have the news pulled up. We are definitely keeping up with everything and anything as far as back in the states," said Davis.

According to Homeland Security, they will face a new arrival process.

They’ll go through customs like normal, then they will be asked their medical history, current condition and their local health authorities. Federal authorities say they will then be given information about COVID-19 and will be told to proceed to their final destination, where they will immediately home-quarantine as recommended by the CDC.

Davis said the vacation wasn’t exactly how they planned.

"A lot more driving around and looking at stuff rather than actually interacting with anyone. It’s been a mellow vacation," he said.

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