COVID-19: commercial activity suspended all over Italy starting March 12, 2020

In the late hours of March 11, 2020, the President of the Council of Ministers of Italy enacted yet another emergency decree on the Covid-19 crisis (text in Italian here). Given the growing spread of the virus, the Government has decided to close all retail stores (with very limited exceptions), restaurants and other commercial businesses on the entire territory of Italy.

Only the following stores will be able to open, provided they comply with all security measures currently in place, like ensuring that there is at least 1 meter between each customer: food stores, pharmacies, newspaper stands, tobacco shops, banks, agricultural activity and production chains related to food products.

Instead, for manufacturing and professional activity, the decree introduces the following measures:

  • use, to the maximum extent possible, of smart-working arrangements (more on this in our previous newsletters here and here);
  • encourage as much as possible the use of holidays, leaves as well as any other time-off provided in CBAs;
  • all non-essential business units should be closed;
  • for those manufacturing facilities that do remain open, the employer must adopt all measures apt to limit the spread of the virus, including the need to maintain 1 meter distance between employees at work. Where this is not possible, individual protective instruments must be given to each employee.
  • offices and work space should be regularly sanitized. Social shock absorbers should be used if this activity causes an interruption of work.

For manufacturing businesses, mobility of employees within the workplace should be limited to what strictly necessary; a fixed number of employees in each working space must also be complied with.

In the coming hours or days, another decree will likely be enacted, introducing more detailed provisions on social measures and shock absorbers (previously enacted provisions on these are still in force – more info here – but in part superseded by recent changes) as well as other measures to support employees and families.