Clifton Park couple is stuck in Peru amid coronavirus pandemic

Emily De Vito and WNYT Staff
Updated: March 25, 2020 03:12 PM
Created: March 25, 2020 02:31 PM

A couple from Clifton Park is living out a nightmare.

They're currently stuck in Peru along with more than 1,000 other Americans.


Steve and Vanessa Guthier left for Peru on March 6 -- there weren't as many coronavirus cases and no one had advised them not to travel.    

They planned the trip a year ago and say they never expected it to turn out like this. What started out as a picture-perfect trip for Vanessa and Steve Guthier -- quickly took a turn. 

"I'm just really scared. I don't want to stay here," said Vanessa.  

On March 15, to combat the coronavirus pandemic -- the president of Peru gave travelers less than 24 hours to leave the country before they would close the borders. 

The couple tried to get a flight out immediately -- but they say the airports were in chaos and the airlines shut down around noon that day.    

They say luckily they've been able to stay with Vanessa's aunt in Lima    

A few days ago, they said they had a chance to get out -- but you had to pay cash for the airline ticket. 

"We thought it was a scam, so we kind of just didn't do it at all. Turns out it was legit. They left last night so we missed our chance," said Steve. 

For now, they've been waiting to hear from the U.S. Embassy -- calling every day.      

The embassy tweeted they expect to return around 400 U.S. citizens Wednesday. They're prioritizing older adults and people with underlying health issues.     

“The U.S. Embassy and U.S. Department of State will not rest until we've worked through these issues with Peru to get our people back to the United States,” The U.S. Embassy tweeted.      

The Guthiers say it's essential they get back to new york because they're both healthcare workers. 

"Our job needs us right now. We're desperate to go back home. People need our help and we're stuck here. I know that the governor is asking for help with health care professionals, but there is nothing we can do here and no one is helping us," added Vanessa. 

The president in Peru ordered the borders to be closed for 15 days -- so that will be until about April 1. However, Vanessa and Steve said they are worried they could extend it.

NewsChannel 13 will continue to follow their journey back to New York and provide updates when they become available.

To hear more about their experience, click on Emily De Vito's report. 

Copyright 2020 - WNYT-TV, LLC A Hubbard Broadcasting Company

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