Italy: An Updated Look at the Retail Sector

Further to our previous update, on April 26 the Italian President of the Council of Ministers issued a further Decree to specify the measures for the containment of the COVID-19 emergency, the so-called "Phase Two".

Such Decree will be in force from May 4 to May 17 2020 and provides, in principle, a loosening of the restrictive measures adopted by the previous Decree dated April 10 2020.

The new provisions are not substantially different from the previous ones, but the list of the industrial and commercial activities exempted from the lock (set out in Annex 3 of the Decree) has been significantly extended, including manufacturing, construction, real estate intermediation, wholesale and accommodation facilities activities. In addition, production, transport, marketing and delivery of pharmaceuticals, health technology and medical-surgical devices as well as agricultural and food products are always allowed.

However, the Italian Regions maintain their autonomy and, therefore, in consultation with the Minister of Health, may apply more restrictive measures limited to their local territory, if needed.

Regarding those activities not suspended (both retail and industrial activities), the Decree provides in particular that respect of the interpersonal safety distance of one meter must be guaranteed.

Moreover, such activities shall be, in any case, carried out in compliance, in particular for our purposes with the "Shared protocol for the regulation of measures to combat and contain the spread of the COVID-19 virus in the workplace” signed on 24 March, 2020, between the Government and the social partners (set out in Annex 6 of the Decree). Failure to implement the above protocol shall result in the suspension of the activity until safety conditions are restored.

At present, the following shops can operate:

  • Hypermarkets

  • Supermarkets

  • Food discount stores

  • Minimarkets and other non-specialised grocery stores

  • Retail sale of frozen products

  • Retail sale in non-specialised stores of computers, devices, telecommunications equipment, audio and video consumer electronics, domestic appliances

  • Retail sale of food, beverages and tobacco in specialised stores

  • Retail sale of automotive fuel in specialised stores

  • Retail sale of computer and telecommunications equipment (ICT) in specialised stores

  • Retail sale of hardware, paints, flat glass and electrical and thermo-hydraulic equipment

  • Retail sale of sanitary wares

  • Retail sale of lighting items

  • Retail of newspapers, magazines and journals

  • Pharmacies

  • Retail sale of medicines not subject to prescription in other specialised stores

  • Retail sale of medical and orthopedic goods in specialised stores

  • Retail sale of perfumery, toiletries and personal care products

  • Retail trade of small pets

  • Retail sale of optics and photography equipment

  • Retail sale of domestic and heating fuel

  • Retail sale of soaps, detergents, polishing products and similar products

  • Retail sale of any type of product via the Internet

  • Retail sale of any type of product on television

  • Retail sale of any type of product ordered by mail, radio, telephone

  • Retail sale by means of vending machines

  • Paper, cardboard and stationery trade

  • Retail sale of books

  • Retail sale of children and babies’ clothes

  • Retail sale of flowers, plants, seeds and fertilisers

  • Laundry and cleaning of textile and fur products

  • Industrial laundries

  • Other laundry facilities

  • Funeral services and related activities

The reopening of further activities will be gradual and will take place in different stages. At present, unless there is a possible increase in the number of infections in the meantime, it is expected that from May 18 2020, retail and commercial activities (different from those already allowed today), exhibitions and libraries will be reopened, while from June 1 2020, restaurants, bars and personal care activities may reopen.

We will continue to monitor carefully the situation.

Last reviewed: 05 May 2020

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