Local man finally home after coronavirus lockdown in Peru

RENTON, Wash. - After being stuck in lockdown in Peru for about two weeks, one local man is back home in King County.

Since October, 21-year-old Griffin Armour worked in Peru as a missionary. His work involves creating sustainable life in mountain villages.

He says when the coronavirus hit, the country shut down its border; he couldn’t get out.

“Every day, I’d tell myself I’m going to get out either tomorrow or the next day,” he said.

He says Cusco, the city he lived in, went into an intense lockdown. He says armed law enforcement walked the streets enforcing strict quarantine guidelines.

Armour says he waited to get word from the United States Embassy that he could leave the country and return home, however he says he never got any notice. So, he decided to take action.

“I made the decision that I was going to walk two miles to the airport, with all my stuff, right at 5 a.m. when the quarantine lifted, and get in line and wait in standby and hope that people didn’t show up,” he said.

Carrying 65 pounds of gear, he worked to avoid any law enforcement, who he feared might detain him for being out without a plane ticket. When he got to the airport, about seven hours before the flight, he says there were already dozens of people waiting in the standby line. Through the day, dozens more got in line.

“They we’re so dejected. People were crying. People were trying to cut in line, anything just to get home. There was so much desperation in the air,” he said.

Armour says he was one of the last ones to make it onto the plane.

“It’s awesome, it’s great to have him back home,” said Armour’s father Tom Armour.

Griffin Armour says he is so happy to be home but knows there are many more Americans who are still stuck in Peru.

The US Embassy of Peru reports, as of March 31st, more than 3,300 Americans have made it home from the country.