GAFFNEY, S.C. (WSPA) – A woman from Gaffney, who was planning to come back home soon, is now stuck in Italy.
She spoke with 7 News about what it’s been like over there amid the Coronavirus pandemic.
Gaffney native Elise Sanders has been teaching in Rome for four years.
“It’s wonderful. It’s completely different from living in the United States–and especially different from living in a small town like Gaffney,” Sanders said. “Rome is a bustling city. People are always out and about.”
That’s usually how Elise Sanders responds when someone asks her what Italy is like. But, recently, because of the Coronavirus, her answer has changed dramatically.
“It is completely empty,” she said. “It is totally silent.”
Elise Sanders says she’s been stuck in her apartment for nearly a month and is really missing social interaction.
“There’s only so much FaceTime, Google Meet, and Skype,” she said. “It’s not the same thing.”
Besides the mental challenge, Elise Sanders said it’s also physically difficult.
“I’m used to getting 10-15,000 steps a day,” she said.
The lockdown measures in Italy are intense. In fact, Sanders said there have been cops on horseback right outside of her apartment.
“I have to have a form, to be able to leave my apartment, that I sign. And the only excuses or reasons I can leave would be to go to the grocery store or to the pharmacy, or for any kind of medical emergency,” she said. “I can get fined 3,000 euro if I’m out without a true reason.”
Elise Sanders’ mother lives in Gaffney and stays in touch with her daughter. She says Elise’s experience has opened her eyes to what might be on the way for us.
“I, personally, have not been to the store in weeks,” Claudia Sanders said. “In Cherokee County, we haven’t even had a case until yesterday. That doesn’t mean it’s not coming.”
Because Elise Sanders has seen it firsthand, she wants her family and friends back home to take the virus very seriously.
“Stay at home unless absolutely necessary,” she said.
“Pray. God is still on the throne,” her mother added. “Pray with trust that He’s going to work it out His way and it’s going to be good.”