South Louisiana woman among those on lockdown in Italy

South Louisiana woman among those on lockdown in Italy
Stephanie Gazeley is currently stuck in Italy due to travel restrictions imposed by the government there amid fears of the spread of COVID-19. (Source: WAFB)

BATON ROUGE, La. (WAFB) - As fears over the coronavirus intensify, Italy is basically shut down, with travel limited and public and religious ceremonies canceled for the nearly 60 million people who live there.

“As of yesterday, we’re in what’s called a ‘red zone,’” said Stephanie Gazeley.

While the number of new cases of the virus are on the rise, Gazeley says streets are emptying as folks who live there take precautions.

“We’ve really saw a difference,” said Gazeley. “The pizzerias are closed, restaurants are closed, gyms are closed, and for a while now, I’d say maybe a week or so, we’ve had sporting events that we are not allowed to attend.”

Gazeley is originally from New Orleans and went to school at LSU. She and her military husband have been living in Italy for two years and as soon as the new guidelines hit, she says her years of dealing with hurricanes in Louisiana kicked in.

“We sort of took into account what you might do for a hurricane,” said Gazeley. “We started to prepare and I am so accustomed to doing that that immediately I thought, oh we’re not going to have power, so I have to get this canned so and so, but the thing is, you do have power.”

While dealing with the coronavirus is nothing like riding out a major storm, she says basically her family has been treating the lockdown like a “staycation” of sorts, using their time indoors to catch up on things they cannot always make room for with a normally busy schedule.

“You put on a show, you turn up the music, have a glass of wine, and enjoy your family time, so we’ve been doing that for sure and it’s giving us some time to sort of catch up on things that we’ve pushed aside before,” Gazeley added.

As the restrictions tighten and her daily routine is altered, Gazeley says overall, she’s pleased with how Italy is responding.

“As an American looking at a different culture and truly being a visitor here, I’ve gained a ton of respect for the Italian people to be honest,” she added.

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