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COVID-19 Emergency Update: suspension of all commercial and manufacturing activity (with some limited exceptions)

On March 22, 2020, the Italian Government enacted another decree on the Covid-19 crisis with some very important additional measures that all companies will need to comply with on the entire territory of Italy.

The decree suspends all commercial and industrial manufacturing activity with the following exceptions:

  • business activity related to the so-called Ateco codes (i.e. the activity code given to each company by the Companies’ Register) found in this list attached to the decree;
  • production chains and “functional” activities to those mentioned in the list mentioned above. In this case, the company must provide the local governmental office (Prefettura) with a list of companies or administrative offices that will benefit from the goods and services made or delivered through authorized activities. The Prefecture can suspend this activity it is not considered essential;
  • essential public services;
  • production, transport, marketing and delivery of drugs, health technology and medical-surgical devices as well as agricultural and food products or any other activity relevant to deal with the emergency;
  • activities with continuous cycle plants, after notification to the Prefecture;
  • aerospace and defence industry activities as well as other strategic activities for the economy, after the Prefecture’s authorization.

Suspended activities can still be carried out remotely or through smart working.

Non-suspended activities must comply with the provisions set forth under the protocol on the introduction of safety measures at the workplace (see our newsletter here).

Companies may complete the activities necessary for the suspension by March 25 2020, including the shipment of goods in stock.

The Decree does not suspend professional activities, to be carried out in compliance with the recommendations provided by the Decree dated March 11, 2020 (maximum use of smart working; use of holidays and leaves; suspension of activities in non-essential departments; adoption of measures aimed at preventing the spread of the virus; distance of at least 1 meter between each individual; sanitization of workplaces).

The above shall be in force from March 23 2020 until April 3 2020.

Furthermore, the Decree provides for:

  • an extension until April 3, 2020 of what provided for in the Decrees dated March 11 (click here to see our newsletter on this Decree) and in the Order of the Ministry of Health dated March 20 (click here to see the Order in Italian) from March 25 to April 3, 2020;
  • a prohibition on individuals from relocating or moving, by public or private transport, from the municipality in which they are currently located, unless there is a proven need relating to work, absolute urgency or to health reasons.

Massimiliano (Max) Biolchini joined Baker McKenzie in January 1999. He became a local partner in the Milan office in 2004 and was elected partner in 2011. He is the Head of the Italian Employment Law Practice and is member of the Steering Committee of the EMEA Employment Practice Group. He advises clients on all aspects of labor and employment law. He regularly contributes to the employment section of the prestigious Italian business newspaper Il Sole 24 Ore.


Uberto Percivalle is a partner in the Firm’s Milan office, where he has practiced since 1990. He focuses on employment law.


Antonio Luigi Vicoli is counsel in the Employment & Compensation Practice Group of Baker McKenzie Italian offices. He is a multilingual lawyer with English proficiency. Antonio is professionally qualified under the laws of Italy and admitted to practice in Italy, enrolled with the Lawyers’ Bar of Milan.