Peru honeymoon turned 45 day quarantine: couple influenced by wild experience help make masks for community

U.S. & World News

MARQUETTE, Mich. (WJMN) — A Marquette couple spent 45 days in quarantine in 2 different states and a different country. It was a honeymoon they will never forget.

“It’s the most expensive Airbnb trip we’ve ever taken,” said Pat Digneit, Co-Owner, Digs Gastropub.

Pat Digneit and his wife Alyssa saved up for 2 years to have their dream honeymoon in Cusco, Peru.
They planned to hike the Inca Trail to see the historic Machu Picchu citadel set and to enjoy the beauty of the country. But the COVID-19 pandemic stepped into play once they arrived.

“We left on the 10th, got there on the 11th, and that’s when they had made the order to not fly anywhere, so we were already there and then Peru locked their country down and then nobody could get out, so we were stuck with about 9,000 other Americans in Peru for a month.”

They were forced into quarantine for 30 days at their Airbnb and allowed to go out to get groceries.
But were limited to who was allowed to go shopping each day.

“Men were allowed to go out on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday. Women were allowed to go out on Tuesday, Thursday, and Saturday. You could only have one person out from your household. They had military armed guards on every corner, so if you were 6 feet from somebody they would yell at you and tell you to go more then 6 feet. You had to have a mask and gloves on at all times, if you didn’t, you’d get arrested.”

Not having much contact with their families back in the states, the Digneits had to wait it out until they found a way home.

“Getting back from Peru to Marquette was probably the most challenging thing I’ve ever had to do.”

With not many options, one being a 29 hour bus ride to a major airport, they waited 2 and a half weeks for a repatriation flight back to the states.

“We didn’t have any internet. We just had our cell phones, so we only got a gig of data a day, half a gig costs $10 a day, and that goes fast, so we didn’t want to spend all of our money on that. So you save it to tell our parents ‘Hi, we’re alive and we’re still looking for a flight out of here.’ We had cards, so we learned gin and rummy.”

When they were able to get on a flight to the states, no vehicles were allowed on the streets, so they had to walk four miles with their luggage to the airport.

“We got to Cusco Airport and then we took a flight from Cusco to Miami. We had to wait a day and a half once we got to Miami for a flight that would go Miami to Marquette.”

Once they landed in Marquette, the Digneits decided to self-quarantine themselves for another two weeks, having their friends and family drop off groceries as the days went by.

“We were not ordered to quarantine, it’s just the responsible thing to do. We care about everyone in the community and we didn’t want to be the people who got anyone sick, so we took upon ourselves to do so.. There weren’t any chances where we were, but again, it’s the responsible thing to do.”

Being the Co-Owner of the Digs Gastropub in Marquette, Pat checked up on his employees to see how they were doing during the pandemic and stumbled upon a box of Crown Royal bags.

So, Pat and Alyssa made masks for his employees, and after posting the pictures on Facebook, he received a wild response.

People wanting to donate their empty Crown Royal bags, people wanting to purchase the masks, and being influenced by ‘Masks for Marquette’, they wanted to give back to an industry and it’s workers that are also struggling right now.

“What we realized was, as a restaurant business, the food industry is really struggling right now and especially the farmers that are local that in the summer, when we buy local food from those farmers that aren’t around right now, most restaurants can’t do that right now and those people are struggling,” said Digneit.

“So we said why don’t we make a fundraiser for all of the farmers throughout the U.P. and then we’ll raise all of the money, buy all of the food from those guys who can’t really sell it when they have those farmers markets and then when we have that money, we’ll buy 100% local food and then we’ll take all of that food and donate and make meals for all of the front line workers and all of the different people all around town that have been really kicking butt.”

Digneit said it’s just another way to help the community during this pandemic.

“Let’s raise a lot of money for these farmers and feed the people around the U.P. that are keeping everybody going and get a fashionable mask out of it.”

For more information on Crown for a Cause, click here. Masks will be available this Sunday 7 P.M. EST, first come, first serve, and credit cards will be accepted.

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