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Italy – Country in Lockdown as COVID-19 Threat Grows

Italy – Country in Lockdown as COVID-19 Threat Grows

With the number of COVID-19 cases continuing to rise in Italy, the Italian government issued another urgent Decree-Law on 9 March 2020, further restricting travel, other activities, and aspects of daily life. The measures effectively quarantine the whole country and place severe restrictions on internal travel within Italy. Employers with establishments in different parts of Italy, will be unable to move employees between these areas and may face difficulties in the supply chain. Many countries are now advising against travel to Italy.

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With the number of COVID-19 cases continuing to rise in Italy, the Italian government issued another urgent Decree-Law on 9 March 20201, further restricting travel, other activities, and aspects of daily life, as it aims to prevent the virus from spreading and extending beyond the affected areas.

WHY THIS MATTERS

The measures effectively quarantine the whole country and place severe restrictions on internal travel within Italy.  Employers with establishments in different parts of Italy, will be unable to move employees between these areas and may face difficulties in the supply chain.  Employees who found themselves in the “wrong” place at the time the Decree-Law entered into force may be able to return to their designated homes.  There are no restrictions on foreign nationals leaving Italy to return home.  The travel restrictions are being enforced by controls at airports, railway stations, bus stations, and motorway toll booths. Basically the Law is summed up by “stay at home.”  Travellers are being subjected to questioning by the police and asked to self-certify the purpose of their trips.

From a practical perspective, falling demand has already led to the suspension of many train services and air services to Italy and travellers may experience difficulties in making travel arrangements.

For the moment, extensive remote working seems a very good way for employers to help ensure business continuity and to avoid the risk of their employees facing fines for travel without justification.

As a result of the redeployment of police to enforce the new regulations, the work of most police immigration offices has been suspended and appointments to obtain residence permits are likely to be postponed for up to 30 days.

Several governments, including the U.S., the U.K., and Irish, are advising against all non-essential travel to the restricted areas of Italy.3

Areas under Quarantine/Restricted Travel

The new measures introduced by the Decree-Law place severe restrictions on all travel within Italy and on the exercise of social and economic activities. 

Restrictions in Force

The measures include:

  1. A ban on travel within all areas of Italy, except for essential work- or health-related reasons.  People are permitted to return to their normal place of residence if outside these areas.
  2. Individuals with symptoms are required to self-isolate and to limit social contact.
  3. Individuals who have tested positive for COVID-19 are quarantined and forbidden to leave their homes.
  4. All sporting events have been suspended,
  5. Schools and universities remain closed until 3 April.
  6. Bars and restaurants may only open between 6:00am and 6:00pm (06:00 to 18:00), with table service only where their facilities allow them to maintain a distance of 1 meter between tables.
  7. All public events, including cinemas, theatres, and concerts are suspended.
  8. Severe fines and possible criminal proceedings are envisaged for infringing the above regulations.

Travel Advice

Many countries are now advising against travel to Italy.  The U.K. Foreign & Commonwealth Office now advises against all but essential travel to the whole of Italy; although they confirm that British nationals in Italy are permitted to leave.4  The U.S. Department of State advises against travel to Lombardy and Veneto and the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has issued a Level 3, warning advising against all non-essential travel to Italy.5

FOOTNOTES

Decreto-Legge 9 marzo 2020, n. 10 

2  For related coverage see the following issues of GMS Flash Alert: 2020-049 (6 March 2020) and 2020-045 (4 March 2020).

3  See the U.K. U.K. Foreign & Commonwealth Office webpage.

See the U.S. Department of State webpage.

See Ireland’s Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade webpage.

4  See the U.K. Foreign & Commonwealth Office webpage

5  See the U.S. Department of State webpage .

See the CDC webpage .  

New Thought Leadership from KPMG: “Coronavirus: Protect Your Staff and Your Business”

Due to the rapid development of the novel coronavirus situation, many companies have initiated business continuity planning to protect their staff and mitigate the impact on their business operations.  In light of the concerns around international assignees – including business travelers – in affected areas, the KPMG People Services team in the People’s Republic of China has developed a booklet (“Coronavirus: Protect Your Staff and Your Business” (February 2020)) highlighting the key considerations for these issues from high level tax, legal, and immigration perspectives.

*  Please note that KPMG LLP (U.S.) does not offer immigration services or labour law services. However, KPMG Law LLP in Canada can assist clients with U.S. immigration matters.

 

The information contained in this newsletter was submitted by the KPMG International member firm in Italy.

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