From the Diamond Princess to Dillsburg: couple continues taking precautions to avoid catching COVID-19


DIILLSBURG, Pa. (WHTM) – Bill and Colette Smedley escaped the coronavirus that spread throughout a Diamond Princess cruise ship off the coast of Japan. They spent weeks quarantined in an interior room, and then at a U.S. military base, only for COVID-19 to follow them back to Central Pennsylvania.

The Dillsburg couple remains safe and healthy, but this is not how they envisioned their return home.

“The night after we got home, we went into the legion,” said Bill Smedley. “My wife likes to play Bingo and people welcomed us there.”

It was a quick glimpse at freedom.

“I went and got a haircut, and went and got the mail,” said Bill Smedley. “We had two crates of mail. It took days to go through.”

But just a few short weeks later, Bill and Colette have endless days to do that.

COVID-19 has reached Central Pa., and disrupted their lives again.

“I was looking forward to the hockey season but it’s over,” said Bill Smedley.

The couple won’t get to watch the Hershey Bears, whose players welcomed them home with presents. They won’t spend spring days at golf courses either, as those are all closed.

Still, as they did before, they’re staying optimistic.

Bill says he’s ahead on his maintenance projects and will have his pool ready in the coming days.

After all, being stuck at your own house is much better than being stuck in an interior room on a ship.

“It’s rewarding just to be able to relax and try and get back to normal,” said Bill Smedley.

The Smedley’s are adhering to the state’s social distancing guidelines. They say they understand firsthand: nothing is worth jeopordizing people’s livelihoods.

“We had a 20% chance of catching it on the ship and we didn’t because we adhered to the recommendations of those people,” said Bill Smedley. “The percentage of getting it around here are a lot less. The more that people that adhere to the recommendations, the lower that percentage will be and the quicker we will be able to get back to our normal lives.”

The Smedley’s spent a 33rd wedding anniversary, Valentine’s Day and Colette’s birthday fleeing the coronavirus.

Now, they worry they might have to reschedule another huge event: their daughter’s wedding. Bill says it was scheduled for June, and she will be making a decision in April.

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