This is a true story. And while I keep saying it could ONLY happen to my friend Kelly, I suppose it could, and has, happened to others.

As we speak, Kelly is trapped in a 5-star resort in Cancun, Mexico, because she went and got COVID.

Here’s the story.

Kelly and her family flew to Cancun last week for her sister’s wedding. The resort they’re staying at assigns all guests a time to get tested for COVID and administers an antigen test. The U.S. also requires a negative test to travel back. Kelly was tested Friday morning and by lunchtime she got an email saying she had tested positive and needed to pack her bags.

Someone picked her up and Kelly was taken to another room in another building (of the same resort) to be quarantined.

She was retested at the new location, using a more thorough test, and was told she had to stay in the new room until her results came back. She was also told that she could order anything from room service ... except alcohol. That in itself would be the nail in the coffin for me.

The very next morning Kelly found out that she had indeed tested positive for COVID and would have to stay in quarantine for at least 11 days.

That meant that she had to miss her sister’s wedding, which was the reason she went to Mexico in the first place. She couldn’t attend her own sister’s wedding. And since none of her family members tested positive, they all got to go to the wedding. They sent her beautiful photos from the event happening nearby, but of course it wasn’t the same as being there.

She would have to be confined to her room, alone, for almost two weeks.

So over the weekend Kelly’s been texting our friend group and keeping us updated on her imprisonment. And make no mistake, she’s like a bird trapped in a gilded cage. Sure she’s at a beautiful 5-star resort in sunny Cancun BUT she can’t leave her room. There are people assigned to the floor she’s on to make sure no one comes or goes.

A doctor and guest services call and check on her every single day. She’s had a stuffy nose and minor fatigue but she feels better every day.

And since none of her family members tested positive, they all got to stick to their original travel timeline and all came back home on Sunday.

Meanwhile, Kelly’s ordering enough room service to feed an army (which is exactly what I’d be doing because the hotel’s footing the bill) and taking selfies from her balcony.

The balcony, by the way, overlooks one of the resort’s stunning pools. So Kelly can step outside any time she wants and see other people enjoying their freedom. She’s sort of like Rapunzel — if Rapunzel was a middle aged educator from Northwest Georgia who had contracted an infectious disease while vacationing in another country.

If everything goes as expected, Kelly can come home on the 23rd, two days before Thanksgiving.

Now some people would actually see this as a dream vacation while others would be miserable. I guess it depends on the type of person you are.

Would you want to be in Kelly’s position? Here are the pros and cons:


She’s in a 5-star resort at the beach in Mexico.

She’s doesn’t have anyone to annoy her — no husband, no kids, no dogs.

She can sleep in every day and watch whatever she wants on TV.

She can order room service from several restaurants 24 hours a day.


She can’t leave her room — for 11 days.

She can’t order alcohol.

She’s all by herself — no husband, no kids, no dogs.

She gets to see others enjoying the beach but only from a distance.

As I said, I’d probably be going crazy just knowing I couldn’t leave my room.

But Kelly’s being really positive about the whole thing and looking at whatever silver linings there are in the whole situation. It’s certainly the strangest vacation she’s ever been on.

Severo Avila is Features Editor for the Rome News-Tribune.


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