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Miami couple stuck in Hawaii lockdown after COVID test confusion

Vacation nightmare can serve as a cautionary tale for other travelers that some pandemic rules remain in place.
Vacation nightmare can serve as a cautionary tale for other travelers that some pandemic rules remain in place.

FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. – South Florida resident Darwin Reyes and his wife had a weeklong trip to Waikiki planned, complete with relaxing beach time and cage diving. None of that is going to happen.

“What’s supposed to be a birthday trip now it’s like a nightmare,” said Reyes, of Miami, who is now stuck in quarantine after confusion about COVID-19 testing.

Reyes says from his Honolulu hotel room that he was informed only after landing in Hawaii that he had the right test and within the correct time frame, but it was not from one of the approved providers by the state of Hawaii.

The state’s website calls it “trusted testing and travel partners,” and nowhere on that list is Hard Rock Stadium, the Florida-run site where Reyes and his wife got their PCR tests before their trip.

So, even though they are vaccinated, their options were to get a flight out of Hawaii without a refund or to quarantine at the resort. They chose the latter.

“They made me sign a quarantine hotel agreement saying that if I leave the hotel I’m subject to go to jail or pay a fee of $5,000,” Reyes said.

So now the couple is stuck in a picturesque prison on the top floor of the Waikiki Beachcomber. Reyes says his hotel key has been deactivated, so if he leaves, he can’t get back in. He was told he can’t even get COVID tested locally in Hawaii.

“Paid a whole vacation package, which cost thousands of dollars, and now it’s just like I mean I lost the money,” he said.

Reyes hopes his family’s story can prevent other travelers from the same frustrating oversight.

“It’s not normal. It doesn’t make sense the fact that they let me go from the airport [if] according to them I have COVID,” Reyes said.


About the Author:

Saira Anwer joined the Local 10 News team in July 2018. Saira is two-time Emmy-nominated reporter and comes to South Florida from Madison, Wisconsin, where she was working as a reporter and anchor.