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Italy: New Regulations Setting Further Measures to Tackle Coronavirus Pandemic Enter into Effect

(Apr. 8, 2020) On March 23, 2020, a circular entitled Urgent Measures to Contain and Manage the Epidemiologic Emergency Caused by COVID-19 Applicable Throughout the National Territory (Circular), which was issued by the Presidency of the Council of Ministers and the Extraordinary Commissioner for the Implementation of Measures to Contain and Fight the Epidemiological Emergency Caused by COVID-19, entered into effect in Italy. (Circolare Misure Urgenti in Materia di Contenimento e Gestione dell’Emergenza Epidemiologica da COVID-19, applicabili sull’intero Territorio Nazionale.)

Restrictions on Commercial, Industrial, and Professional Activities

Because of the spread of COVID-19 and the increase in cases throughout the national territory, the circular spells out the further restrictions to commercial, industrial, and professional activities already established in recently enacted regulations, with the purpose of decreasing the risk of contagion among the population. (Circular at 2.)

The circular reiterates the general suspension of all productive, industrial, and commercial activities throughout Italy, with the exception of expressly listed activities. The circular also encourages both the public and the private sectors to implement measures to facilitate the remote performance of functions. In the particular case of the public administration, the circular reiterates that, up to the cessation of the state of emergency, telework is the general rule of work, which is governed by article 87 of Decree-Law No. 18 of March 17, 2020 (Decreto-Legge 17 Marzo 2020, No. 18 Misure di Potenziamento del Servizio Sanitario Nazionale e di Sostegno Economico per Famiglie, Lavoratori e Imprese Connesse all’Emergenza Epidemiologica da COVID-19). (Circular at 3.)

Access to public museums and other cultural and educational entities and places that is not provided remotely is suspended. (Circular at 3.)

Authorized Activities

To provide more clarity, the circular lists the productive activities that are authorized during the state of emergency:

  • Utilities and essential services as defined as essential by Law No. 146 of June 12, 1990 (Legge 12 Giugno 1990, No. 146). (Circular at 3.)
  • The production, transport, marketing, and delivery of drugs, health technology, and medical-surgical devices, as well as agricultural and food products. (Circular at 3.)
  • Activities of continuous-production-cycle plants in order to avoid interrupting their functioning and serious damage to the plants themselves or the danger of accidents. (Circular at 3.)
  • Activities related to the aerospace and defense industries and other activities of strategic importance for the national economy. (Circular at 4.)
  • Any activity functional in dealing with the emergency. (Circular at 3.)

Procedure for the Registration of Activities Exempted from the Restrictions

Managers of exempted production, industrial, and commercial activities must provide notice about the continuity of such activities to the prefect of the province where the production activity is located, specifying the products and services connected to them. (Circular at 3.)

The circular clarifies that the applicable regulations do not contain an a priori authorization requirement for the concerned activities but are simply designed to keep the authorities informed and to avoid the suspension of activities. (Circular at 4.)

To better implement these measures, the national authorities must commence consultations with the regions and other territorial entities, including chambers of commerce, in order to make a preliminary selection of the production-related sites potentially affected by the restrictive regulations. (Circular at 4.)

Transportation of Persons During the COVID-19 Emergency

In addition, the circular recalls that the applicable regulations prohibit all individuals from moving or transporting themselves by public or private means of transportation from the municipality in which they are currently located. (Circular at 5.) Exceptions apply only to traveling for the sake of urgent situations, proven work needs, situations of necessity, or health reasons that are of an everyday nature or that which is usually carried out due to the shortness of the distances to be covered. (Circular at 5.)

According to the circular, these movements include, for example, travel for work needs when the place of employment does not offer an alternative worksite, or travel to obtain food when the nearest or most accessible store is located in another municipality. (Circular at 5–6.)