COVID 19 – ITALY Practical tips for foreign companies
- Since 10 March 2020 the movement of natural persons on the territory of the State has been restricted except if needed for work, health or cases of strict necessity. The measure is currently valid until 3 April 2020, but it will be extended until 13 April 2020. There are police controls in the streets and violations are sanctioned with a fine.
- Since 12 March 2020 the activity of all retail shops, including restaurants and bars, has been suspended, with the exception of shops selling food and other essential goods (e.g. pharmacies, computer shops, newsagents etc), on condition that they can grant the distance of 1 metre from person to person. All museums, cinemas, theatres and sport events are closed. Home deliveries and e-commerce are allowed. The measure is currently valid until 3 April 2020, but it will be extended until 13 April 2020.
- Since 23 March 2020 all industrial and commercial production activities are also suspended, with the exception of a list of essential enterprises (e.g. agriculture, food industry, medical and pharmaceutical industry, and all related industries). Professional activities and public offices are not concerned. The movement of natural persons is further restricted. These measures are currently valid until 3 April 2020, but they will be extended until 13 April 2020. Some Regions, like Lombardy, have adopted stricter measures.
- The companies which must be closed are allowed to continue activity in smart working. The industrial activities which are allowed must take all measures for the protection of the health of workers according to an agreement signed with the unions on 14 March 2020. Many of your Italian partners may therefore be obliged, if not to close, to significantly reduce their activity.
- There are no limitations for the transport of goods. Nevertheless, many transport and logistic companies within Italy are reducing their activity in order to protect their workers. This also concerns international transport to and from Italy.
- If you have an Italian subsidiary which is allowed to continue working, you will be obliged to take all the measures required, including those for the protection of the health of your staff. Violations can result into liability of directors or managers.
- With a decree of 17 March 2020 so called “Cura-Italia” (Treat Italy) the Italian Government adopted a first package of measures to support economy, including a postponement of deadlines for taxes and social charges, a tax credit equal to 60% of the rent for shops and subsidies for tourism and cultural activities.
- Collective redundancies, as well as operation related dismissals of employees are not allowed until 16 May 2020. All employers may reduce working hours and salaries of their employees and have access to financial support from our Redundancy Fund (Cassa Integrazione Guadagni) for a period up to 9 weeks of suspension or reduction of the activity.
- The decree of 17 March 2020 also contains new rules for shareholders’ meetings of Italian companies. The deadline to approve the financial statements is extended to 180 days (instead of 120) from the end of the fiscal year. The meetings of all companies can be held via teleconference, and the rule according to which at least the chairman and the secretary must be in the same place does not apply, even though the resolution must result from minutes signed by a Public Notary. For limited companies (s.r.l.) it is always possible to take decisions via written consultation or written consent, even though the bylaws of the company do not allow it.
- Except for cases of special urgency, all hearings fixed for judicial procedures in the period from 8 March 2020 to 15 April 2020 will be postponed and during the same period all deadlines are suspended. From 16 April to 30 June 2020 the President of each Court will take measures to ensure the protection of health in the administration of justice, including the possibility to conduct hearings via teleconference.
Cocuzza & Associati is constantly monitoring the legal implications of Covid-19 pandemic and we will be glad to advise you in this respect. Please contact us by email for any questions you may have.