By Jeff Todd

DENVER (CBS4) – A Colorado couple says their dream post-pandemic trip to the Mediterranean Sea was canceled because of where they live. Now, they’re staying home because of a Colorado-specific restriction in one country.

“I don’t like that my state is not represented positively in any way,” said Nita Starr. “As a Coloradan, I would like to think that I would have all the freedoms that the rest of the United States citizens have.”

(credit: CBS)

Starr is a teacher and usually takes a big trip each summer. COVID-19 canceled a trip last year, but after getting fully vaccinated Starr and her husband started looking for cruises in Europe. They settled on a trip leaving from Malta and going up the Adriatic Sea until she got a call this week from the cruise operator.

“They were only calling people from Colorado and Arizona because we’re the ones that are newly banned from entering Malta,” she said. “We did do the homework. We knew what was going to be expected of us. We knew how to get on the flights, we knew. We had plans for all the testing. We had plans for the testing to get back into the U.S.”

Malta recently added Colorado to a dozen other states in a more restricted tier of health protocols. A Malta website indicates a vaccination card can act as a way into the country. Starr says she wasn’t given that option, and the phone operator told her it was likely because of low vaccination rates in her home state.

She canceled her trip and got her money back. Colorado recently passed the federal goal of 70% of adults receiving at least one dose.

(credit: CBS)

“I believe everyone should choose whether they’re vaccinated or not. And so that’s the whole thing about the freedom of all those people to not be vaccinated. I think they have that right, but now they’re infringing upon my right to travel. It’s … it’s interesting.”

Health and travel officials said they hadn’t heard of many cases of states being broken up and given different international regulations. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has a site dedicated to international travel information as well as the U.S. State Department.

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“You have to go in with an open mind and be flexible,” said Joe Maloney, the Vice President of Travel for AAA Colorado. “Have a pro in your corner. It’s just things are evolving so rapidly and demand is even overwhelming right now. Everyone wants to get out.”

Jeff Todd