HONDURAS (CBSDFW.COM) – “I am stuck in Utila, Honduras with hundreds of other Americans. We are desperate to get out and terrified.”
That’s the plea from Allen resident Haley Jo Schwab to the CBS 11 Facebook inbox, as she and hundreds of other citizens are stranded overseas as countries around the world shut their borders to limit the spread of the coronavirus.READ MORE: Texas House Passes Bill Limiting Governor’s Powers During Pandemics
Schwab said she went to Honduras in February for a divemaster internship and has been stuck there ever since.
A State Department spokesperson responded to inquiries from CBS 11 News and confirmed that the Government of Honduras closed all borders (land, air, and maritime) at 11:59 p.m. Sunday, March 15, 2020 for a period of seven days.
“I was out diving, got back to the dive center and found out everything was being shut down immediately- with no notice and with no chance to get home,” said Schwab.
Currently under 24/7 lockdown enforced by police and military, according to Schwab, she’s desperate but said the U.S. Embassy “won’t help,” her.
But a State Department spokesperson said “We have no higher priority than the safety and security of U.S. citizens overseas. We are continuously assessing travel conditions in all areas affected by COVID-19, and will continue to update our travel advisories and safety information for U.S. travelers as situations evolve.”
The U.S. Embassy Tegucigalpa told CBS 11 News that it ” is monitoring the current situation in Honduras and is aware of the hardship the border closure and curfew are creating for U.S. citizens who need to get to United States. We are exploring all options to address the current travel disruptions.”
The embassy confirmed that as a result of the curfew implemented by the Government of Honduras, grocery stores, gas stations and pharmacies are generally closed. But some grocery stores, pharmacies and gas stations may be opening for a few hours a day.
Schwab explained she and 159 others tried to charter a flight (with tickets of $1,050 each) which they thought they would take them from Roatan, Honduras to Miami.
But Schawab said the Honduran government won’t allow it.
Adding to her plight, Schwab said she works in tourism and has lost her job.
“I don’t have enough funds to stay here till who knows when. There are Americans that are trying to get home to their kids… please, help us.”
Other Americans are tweeting their plight in Honduras, too.
U.S. citizen Emiliano J. Ruiz tweeted, “Help I’m a US citizen stuck in Honduras along with dozens other citizens. All the airports are closed indefinitely and their is martial law imposed. The US embassy has no answers so far.”READ MORE: Former Patients Fight For Stronger Laws After North Texas Doctor Accused Of Assault Walks Free
@DonnaShalala help I'm a US citizen stuck in Honduras along with dozens other citizens. All the airports are closed indefinitely and their is martial law imposed. The US embassy has no answers so far. #stuckinHonduras
— Emiliano J. Ruiz (@EmilianoJRuiz) March 20, 2020
In response to a State Department Travel Advisory, one American tweeted, “My parents and sister are in Honduras and can’t leave because the country closed there borders their next flight is Monday they are hoping that Honduras does not extend the quarantine if that happens what will the US Embassy do, we live in California. They’re running low on money.”
My parents and sister are in honduras and can't leave because the country closed there borders their next flight is monday they are hoping that honduras does not extend the quarantine if that happens what will the us embassy do,we live in california. They're running low on money
— melp (@tratz456) March 20, 2020
An American father tweeted to President Trump, “Hello. Can you please help us. We are US Citizens stuck in Honduras because the president of Honduras closed all the borders due to the coronavirus. We want to go home but no one is helping in the US embassy in Honduras. Our 5 year old son is desperate as he misses his home.”
Hello. Can you please help us. We are US Citizens stuck in Honduras because the president of Honduras closed all the borders due to the coronavirus. We want to go home but no one is helping in the US embassy in Honduras. Our 5 year old son is desperate as he misses his home.
— axel lizardo (@ajlizardo) March 20, 2020
The State Department said U.S. citizens in Honduras should:
- Monitor the Embassy’s website for the most up-to-date information
- Enroll in STEP at STEP.state.gov to receive the latest updates from the Embassy
- Follow the advice of the CDC and local health authorities that you can find at https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/index.html.
- Check with your airlines regarding any updated information about your travel plans and/or restrictions.
- Monitor the Department of State’s COVID-19 website at https://travel.state.gov/content/travel/en/traveladvisories/ea/covid-19-information.html
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