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'Keep us in your thoughts' | Metro east woman living in Italy talks about lockdown

All public gatherings are banned. Restaurants and cafes? Closed. Streets are empty.

ST. LOUIS — Italy is on a nationwide lockdown because of the coronavirus outbreak.

All 60 million residents are being asked to stay home.

Police are checking any traveler to make sure they have a valid reason to leave home. Valid reasons for travel include work, health or another necessity.

Italy said its coronavirus infections have topped 10,000 and deaths have risen to over 600 people.

5 On Your Side spoke to a woman from the St. Louis area who is living in Italy during this lockdown.

Kelly Gradinetti lived in Mascoutah, Illinois, for 23 years before packing her bags and moving to Switzerland. That's where she met her husband. 

"My husband is Italian. So, we decided to move where he's from in Naples," Gradinetti said.

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Since then, she and her husband along with her two little ones have traveled throughout the area. Now, just like other Italian families, their life is at a standstill.

"It’s like the only topic of conversation for weeks," she said. "It went from the beginning as, 'Oh, it’s just the flu, we are making a big deal of it,' to now it's 'this is real.'"

Gradinetti takes care of her two kids, ages 3 and 5.

"It's tough because you can't go anywhere and I'm stuck with these two all day inside," she said.

Credit: KSDK

But those aren't the only children she worries about. Gradinetti teaches first grade.

"I work in a school, so we were the first to close," she said.

Now, she teaches her students from a distance, giving them homework and interactive books.

Having this separation is tough though for a culture that centers around the idea of being close, she said. 

"People are always in contact with each other and we can't," Gradinetti said. "We're missing that aspect because every day my mother-in-law is here to see the kids."

All public gatherings are banned. Restaurants and cafes? Closed. Streets are empty.

Luckily, the Gradinettis are stocked up. 

"Because we are Italian, we have a ton of pasta!" she said.

While life is at a halt, all they can do, for now, is roll with the changes. 

"As long as we're healthy, we're okay. Even though it's horrible, we can't do normal life, it's the measure that needs to be taken. What else can I do? I have to take care of my kids. We have to be strong. Keep us in your thoughts," she said.

Schools are anticipated to re-open April 3.

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