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South Florida couple canceling their 50th wedding anniversary trip because of coronavirus

'We're very frightened,' Gootnicks say
Posted at 10:25 PM, Mar 04, 2020

WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. — Susan Gootnick sits at her dining room table frustrated and discouraged. April 3 is her 50th anniversary with the love of her life, Steve. They booked a cruise starting in Italy for the month of May but because of the coronavirus, it doesn't appear it's going to happen.

"We got frightened. We've been watching television, listening to the president. He put out a warning -- a stage three, I think it's called, warning -- that if you don't have to travel that you shouldn't," she said.

According to the World Health Organization, there are more than 3,089 confirmed cases in Italy.

"If you're older, you're more susceptible, so we're very frightened," she said.

They paid $10,000 for the cruise with Oceania Cruises. According to the Gootnicks, the deadline for them to cancel is Monday and they'll only get 50% of their money back.

"This was something that we were looking forward to. Life gives us a lot of different directions in our life day to day this wasn't supposed to happen," Steve Gootnick said.

In a statement on their website, Oceania said it has put in effect several safety protocols on their ships because of the coronavirus spread.

The statement said it has added additional cleaning and disinfection protocols, forbidden any guest who has traveled from China, Hong Kong and any city in Italy under a quarantine order by the government from traveling with them and they will be conducting health screenings for all guest from affected areas.

"It's just awful," Susan Gootnick said. "This was supposed to be a celebration and it's turned out to be really horrible."

The Gootnicks said they are absolutely not going on the cruise. So what will they do for their 50th wedding anniversary? They said they'll think of something special to do.