Covid-19 impact and responses: Italy

Updated on: 28 May, 2020

What is the current situation?

General information

  • On 31 January 2020, the government declared the state of emergency for six months.
  • On 19 May 2020, the government approved the ‘Decreto Rilancio’ (Relaunch Decree) which provides for a number of measures aimed at relaunching the Italian economy following the first phase of the Covid-19 lockdown.
  • The International Monetary Fund is expecting that Italy’s GDP will drop by about 9% in 2020. UniCredit, the most important Italian bank forecasts a 15% fall. To partially compensate this fall, a new €55 bn financial law was approved on 19 May 2020.
  • On Monday 11 May, a progressive reopening after 8 weeks of lockdown started: about 4.5m people returned to work; families were able to go to parks, factories and construction sites resumed activities.
  • Companies are still recommended to allow employees to work from home as much as possible.
  • From 3 June, travel to and from Italy, and between the country’s regions is allowed.
  • From 3 June, travellers from EU countries can enter Italy without going into a two-week quarantine.
  • Safety distance of at least 1 metre.
  • Retail shops open with 1 metre distance both during queue and inside. Obligatory mask and gloves when handling clothes.
  • People with respiratory difficulty characterised by fever from 37.5 degrees must stay home and contact their doctor.
  • Protective mask compulsory both indoors and outdoors when not possible to keep 1 metre.
  • Remote education until end of school year. End-of-year exams in person with safety measures. 
  • Restaurants and bars open with 1 metre distance between customers or plexiglass when not possible to keep 1 metre.
  • Limited seating on public transport and obligatory protective mask. 
  • On the Italian government’s website, there is a very helpful FAQ on Covid-19 that covers containment measures, travel and movement, hygiene, prevention and treatment, protective devices, pregnancy and children.
  • To understand the financial support available to Italian companies facing the effects of Covid-19, read this summary.

The situation with factory production

  • The Italian fashion industry consists of approximately 65,000 businesses and 620,000 workers, and relies heavily on exports. Brands have been cancelling orders, putting the entire industry composed mostly of small/medium enterprises at risk of bankruptcy within two months.
  • Production locations are resuming activities based on independent regional decisions. Please contact your suppliers directly or check the official regional websites to know the status of production activities. For regional websites, type www.regione.name-of-region.it, for example: www.regione.lombardia.it, www.regione.veneto.it

What are the government policies to support local businesses?

What are the government policies and regulations to protect employees – the workers?

  • Workers’ dismissals suspended as of 23 February 2020.
  • From 23 February 2020, all businesses that had to reduce or suspend production can apply for emergency redundancy for their employees. For up to nine weeks, workers will receive 80% of their regular remuneration. This applies to all companies, including businesses with fewer than 5 employees. Information on the National Social Security Institute (INPS) website.
  • Self-employed or seasonal workers can apply for a special payout of €600 in March. Information on INPS website.
  • Parental leave has been extended, and parents can claim up to €600 to pay for babysitting. Information on INPS website.
  • Workers who need to stay in quarantine will receive paid sick leave as specified in art. 26 of Italy Cure rescue plan.

    An overview of the measures taken INPS can be found here.

What are local organisations doing to support and protect workers?

  • Trade unions expressed their concern for the fashion industry where non-compliances with regulations are more likely to occur due to the small size of factories (93% of companies employ 15 or fewer employees, 78% of which employ 5 or fewer workers).

What have been the responses and requests of business associations to support the industry?

The General Confederation of Italian Industry has set up a task force where employers can find practical information and suggestions on how to respond to the Covid-19 emergency. Find the information here.

What are international brands doing to support suppliers and protect workers?

Many luxury brands have switched to producing face masks. They have also asked seamstresses who have been sent home for health and safety reasons to volunteer to make these items.


Relevant links for more information

Decreto Rilancio (Relaunch Decree) full text
Ministry of Health
Ministry of Labour
Ministry of Economy and Finance
National Institute for Social Security (INPS)