UPDATE: As of 8:44 AM local time, the Butte County couple facing uncertainty over returning home to the United States from Europe, reports to Action News Now they have been able to purchase tickets to return home. Barring any additional changes, they anticipate returning Sunday, March 15, 2020.
MADRID, Spain - A Butte County couple traveling in Europe is now expressing concern over their options for returning home to the United States, after learning of the travel ban issued by President Trump Wednesday evening.
James and Kristi, first arrived in Spain on March 6, 2020, and are currently staying in Portugal.
They say they received an alert Thursday morning advising the ban would take effect soon. At that point, they say they made plans to cut their trip short and were able to book a flight out; flying back to the states. But, they say that flight got canceled at the last minute.
Adding to their concerns; they say they received somewhat conflicting messages from news reports and the U.S. Department of State, as to what is and what is not allowed for travel for Americans. Their concerns: will they be able to fly home from Spain? Will they be able to book last minute? Is San Francisco International Airport; their intended arrival airport, classified as one in which the U.S. Government has implemented enhanced screening procedures?
In Portugal, there are currently 21 cases of coronavirus while there are more than 2,000 cases in Spain.
James and Kristi say if for some reason they are unable to get back home, they will stay in Portugal for several days, then hope to book a direct flight from Spain.
The soon to be implemented travel ban does not apply to Ireland or the United Kingdom.
If the couple is not allowed to take a flight out of Spain, they say while it would be an inconvenience, they would travel to the UK to catch a flight home.