Everywhere around where I am is closed.
You can’t go anywhere, you’re not really supposed to leave.
The boat pretty much stopped, and the captain came on and made an announcement that Chile had closed its port and that they were not going to let us in.
John Knauer and his fiancee, Banaz Hejazi, were set to get married on Saturday.
They had to cancel as the bulk of their guests were traveling to New Orleans from out of the state.
It is the question we all keep asking, right? Can I travel? Can my family travel? Chloe and her uncle went to Italy late last month, to visit family, and for Chloe to brush up on her Italian.
But then, the coronavirus came.
The whole situation with the virus and stuff is overwhelming.
When they got over to Italy and realized that they were trapped, they couldn’t get home.
I did another story with her mother Friday, this past Friday, and it’s really a gut-wrenching time at their household because Chloe is not going to be coming home any time soon.
I can’t change it.
I don’t have a plane, I can’t fly to get her or anybody else that may be stuck there.
There’s just nothing I can do.
The mother, Marie, has contacted the State Department, she’s contacted local Congressman, she’s called the airlines.
There are just no flights available for Chloe coming out of Italy.
So, she doesn’t know what to do.
She’s really hoping that the State Department and the U.
Government some gets a flight or a number of flights available for the people, not only Chloe, but the others who are stuck in Italy and just can’t get out.
She’s on the phone to the airlines daily.
She keeps extending Chloe’s ticket, because if she lets it lapse, then she’ll have to start all over again.
So she keeps extending the airline ticket a week or two or whatever she can extend it just to keep it open.
I spoke to Chloe on the phone, a video chat, Friday, and she says that she has been stuck in the place that she’s staying for a week.
They can’t go out, if they do go out they have to have their passport and their papers with them.
If the police catches them out when they’re not supposed to be out, or they don't have their papers, they’ll get arrested, and she’s seen people get arrested for being out, out of doors, out of their houses.
She has good times and bad times she says, and if you bring up certain subjects with her, it really, you can see the hurt, you can see the disappointment, you can hear just the wanting to come home and to be back with her Mom and Dad here in Greenville.
This is the video of the moment passengers learned they would not be getting off the boat.
And that was two days ago.
First or all, I was like, 'What are these people doing on a cruise?' The U.
Government, the State Department has issued this thing saying stay off cruise ships, a lot of cruise lines have already shut down operations.
But then I learned, reaching out, that they’d actually been on that cruise for two weeks, that they left way before there was any sort of warning from the government.
The coronavirus was still largely in China and still getting into Italy at that point.
Frank says he got on that boat thinking there was no problem, and by the time he got to Chile, they had been keeping up with the news, they knew that it had become a major issue, and all of a sudden, he’s like, 'Oh my goodness, what are we going to do now?' They get on in Argentina, they sail around the southern tip of South America for a couple of weeks.
They make like four or five port stops, no problems whatsoever.
They get off the coast of Chile, they’re about ready to get off there, and they find out when everybody lines up, like 3, 000 people on the boat, line up in Chile, the government says, 'Whoa, whoa, whoa, whoa, whoa, we're not letting you guys in here right now.
' The last I checked with them they were still anchored off the coast of Chile, waiting to get restocked with medicine and fuel and food.
Now they have to sail to San Diego, which is like 10 or 11 days at least by sea.
And so they have to stock back up and they’ve got to sail all the way up the Pacific Coast to San Diego, in which they hope that they’ll be able to get off the boat at that point without being quarantined or anything, so we don’t know.
Here’s where he’s really lucky.
There are no symptoms or illnesses on that ship that he knows of, so they ship is open.
The ship is open, people are out, people are at the pool.
I think people are being very cautious he said, and people are starting to get a little agitated.
And now the drinks are free, by the way.
The cruise ship said the drinks are going to be free now for a while, but because that happened, they’ve got to be on there for a long time, but at least they have the ability to move around the ship, basically just continue their vacation, unlike what we’ve seen from other cruises where people were stuck inside their cabins for days and weeks at a time.
Luckily, Frank and Sydney don’t have to worry about that.
I think it's just become tradition, because they were celebrating their 32nd wedding anniversary.
They always go on cruises, they love going on cruises, although he said next year the 33rd anniversary is probably going to be on land.
We feel bad for our guests, too, because we had guests traveling from out of town.
So, the fact that the bulk of their guests couldn't come to this wedding in New Orleans impacted their wedding greatly.
I think they were doing about 150 guests.
And at that point they said, 'Look, about 75 to 100 may not be able to get here.
' Whether it be they didn’t want to travel, they had health issues, they were traveling from outside the country.
And then they didn’t want to have all these people in one location together, because as the groom told us, he goes, 'Look, I’ve got relatives that have health issues, whether it be respiratory or other ailments, people who are elderly, and we don't want to make them come to a wedding and feel uncomfortable.
’ So, I think they cancelled their wedding due in part because of the guests.
They felt like, ‘Hey look, a lot of our guests can’t get here, the bulk of our guests, probably 70 percent, so let’s just try to regroup and do this later in 2020.
This is a destination wedding city, like a lot of other big places around the country.
A lot of people like to come to New Orleans now, especially in the last decade it’s boomed, where people can get married in the historic French Quarter.
It’s scenic, it’s beautiful, it’s a great destination city for people to come to.
So, it’s cut pretty deep into the wedding industry because you think of all the spin-off jobs, there are wedding planners, flowers, caterers, we are a restaurant city here in New Orleans.
They host rehearsal dinners, they host receptions, so it’s taken its toll big time, and we’re in the wedding season.
The best time to be in New Orleans — March, April, May or September, October.
For not just weddings but for convention seasons and for festivals, festivals that we have.
It’s eerie to see Bourbon Street, it’s completely shut down.
The French Quarter completely shut down.
All of downtown completely shut down.
People are really listening to emergency leaders.
This is an area per capita that is hit really hard by coronavirus and coronavirus deaths right now.
I think if there’s any hope here we’ve been through this before, something like this before.
People who were here for Hurricane Katrina, there was talk, it’ll never come back, it’ll never be the same.
And until coronavirus hit, you could easily make the argument that New Orleans was thriving and was doing a lot better in the 15 years since Katrina hit, so I think that people hold out hope on the fact that, 'Look, we've been through a natural disaster, maybe the worst natural disaster to ever hit the United States, and we’ve come back stronger than that.
’ So, I think that people are holding out hope that this will be the same, that the economy, the tourism industry, the wedding industry will all boom after we get through this.
With more coronavirus cases daily — across the country, around the world, we are answering all of your questions.
Since we did our first story, we did a Rossen Reports coronavirus travel guide, we had tips.
Plane, safe to travel, low risk than other places because of the great ventilation system on there.
But this was before public, social distancing became the order of the day.
This was before we were really all doing that as a country.
Literally within a couple of weeks, the experts are saying you probably shouldn’t fly anymore, you don’t want to come in right, direct contact with other people sitting right next to you.
At that time, theme parks, there wasn’t a single theme park in America that was closed.
Within a couple of weeks, all the theme parks were closing, even here in the U.
So this story is changing rapidly.
Should you be flying now? I wouldn’t, unless it’s absolutely essential.
People ask me all the time online is, ‘Well, if you’re not supposed to travel by air, why are the airlines still going back and forth? Why are they still operating flights?’ The answer is they’re trying to stay in business, the other answer is there are essential movements some people need to make.
There are healthcare workers for example in one state that need to get to another.
They’re not going to hire a private jet, who has that money? So, it is actually a service for essential workers, If there is essential travel, the airlines play an important role domestically.
I wouldn’t be flying anywhere internationally, as the State Department has come out and said.
So I wouldn’t travel now.
Would I go on a cruise now? Absolutely not, and that’s why the cruise lines shut down for 30 to 60 to 90 days.
So right now, it’s about hunkering down at home.
Simply put: don’t travel if you don’t have to.