Local coronavirus quarantine evacuee seeking legal advice after not being able to work for six weeks

Posted at 12:06 AM, Mar 03, 2020
and last updated 2020-03-03 06:30:22-05

Sarah Arana, a Paso Robles woman is one of more than 100 people released from quarantine Monday from Travis Air Force base.

The former Diamond Princess cruise ship passengers were there for the last two weeks due to coronavirus concerns.

This was an additional quarantine after being quarantined while still aboard the ship.

Arana says she feels as though she is falling through the cracks. After leaving quarantine, she's now returning home to a massive amount of bills from not being able to work for the last six weeks.

Arana says she has tested negative for the virus in all the tests she's taken.

She is now seeking legal advice after her vacation turned into a massive quarantine.

One San Luis Obispo attorney says it's likely she'll be one of several people heading to court to try to get back some of that money that's now been lost at sea.

Government assistance through FEMA is not available until President Donald Trump makes an "infectious disease emergency declaration" according to NBC News.

Arana says the cruise line has offered no help with lost wages.

"The easiest path would be an individual lawsuit or joining a class action. The federal government, whatever they decide in this matter, will assist in the finding of liability perhaps but waiting for the government to act will take months and years," said San Luis Obispo based attorney James McKiernan.

McKiernan, who is not representing Arana, says other than a lawsuit, some people may also be able to seek claims through their personal insurance.

"Sometimes policies have some sort of lost wages clause, so that's the stuff that you can do right away. As far as workman's compensation, that's not so much for the passengers - that's going to be more for the crew members who want to sue," McKiernan expalined.

We reached out to Princess Cruises who says in statement:

Because of the extraordinary circumstances onboard Diamond Princess, the company is refunding the full cruise fare for all guests including air travel, hotel, ground transportation, pre-paid shore excursions, gratuities and other items. In addition, guests are not being charged for any onboard incidental charges during the additional time onboard. Princess Cruises will also provide guests with a future cruise credit equal to the cruise fare paid for the voyage.

Specialists from the Princess CareTeam and Family Assistance programs remain available to both guests and team members.
Princess Cruises

Arana says that is not enough.

"I can't imagine in this case that cruise ships didn't participate or contribute to the overall problem because viruses on ships go back 20, 30 years," McKiernan said.

While Arana has been released from quarantine, she has not yet returned to San Luis Obispo County and says she's not sure yet when she will.

The CDC says about a dozen of the 140 people quarantined at Travis Air Force base will remain at the base for "various reasons."

The CDC also says everyone that has been in quarantine and has since been released pose no threat to the public.