COVID-19: Prime Minister Decree dated 26 April 2020 - The Start of Phase 2 

As the contagion rate and death toll caused by the Covid-19 emergency (“Covid-19”) continues to decrease, on 26 April 2020 the Prime Minister announced in a press conference the measures adopted to ease the lockdown during the so-called “phase 2”. The new measures are reflected in the Prime Minister Decree dated 26 April 20201 (the “26 April 2020 Decree”). During the press conference, the Prime Minister explained that the reopening and resumption of the activities will be staggered and announced that the next step is scheduled for 18 May 2020, with the progressive reopening of retail shops, food & beverage activities, musea, exhibitions and libraries. The measures adopted under the 26 April 2020 Decree apply from 4 May 2020 and replace those provided under the Prime Minister Decree dated 10 April 2020 (see our Newsletter dated 11 April 2020 at the following link), and remain in force until 17 May 2020. 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.

1.Which movements shall be allowed under the 26 April 2020 Decree?

Under the 26 April 2020 Decree, in the whole Italian territory movements of persons are restricted as follows:

  • within each Region, movements are allowed exclusively for proven work requirements, situations of need or health reasons. The 26 April 2020 Decree specifies that any visits to relatives is considered a reason of need and is therefore allowed, as long as any gatherings are avoided.
  • Movements from one Region to the other are not allowed except for work or health reasons or as a matter of utmost urgency.

In addition, persons are allowed to move (even across Regions) in order to return to their own domicile, home or residence. Inside public places, including inside public transports, or in all circumstances where it is not possible to maintain the security distance, the use of protective face masks is mandatory2. In this regard, the Extraordinary Commissioner Mr. Domenico Arcuri adopted an ordinance providing for a cap on the purchase price of face masks of EUR 0.50 per each unit. No gatherings are allowed in public or private spaces and the mayor of each town may close on a temporary basis certain municipal areas. Access to parks, villas and public gardens shall be rationed and all recreational activities shall be prohibited. On the other hand, individual sports activities or motor activities are allowed and, in particular, in order to ensure a progressive resumption of all sports activities, starting from 4 May 2020 all training sessions of athletes of individual sports shall be allowed behind closed doors.

2. Which industrial and commercial activities may be resumed starting from 4 May 2020?

Starting from 4 May 2020 a number of industrial and commercial activities will be resumed – including the manufacturing, construction, real estate intermediation, wholesale and accommodation facilities activities – listed under Annex 3 of the 26 April 2020 Decree (attached hereto) (the “Permitted Activities”). Starting from 27 April 2020 all preparatory works instrumental to the reopening of the Permitted Activities are allowed, such as the sanitization of the work environment and the adoption of the safety measures for the employees included in the protocols (which were featured in our Alert dated 27 April 2020 at the following link). In addition, the production, transport, commercialization and delivery of drugs, health technology and medical devices, as well as agricultural and food products is always allowed.

3. The list of permitted activities may be updated?

Yes, the list of the ATECO codes identifying the Permitted Activities may be updated by decree of the Minister of the Economic Development, after consultation with the Minister of the Economy and Finance.

4. Professional activities: what changes in respect to the previous decrees?

Nothing changes compared to the previous Prime Minister Decrees for professional activities, in relation to which the following rules apply:

  • maximum use of smart working for the activities that may be carried out from the worker’s domicile;
  • recourse to holidays or remunerated leave for the employees;
  • adoption of the required Protocols and obligation to use the measures of individual protection where it is not possible to maintain a security distance of at least one meter among people; and
  • sanitization of the work places, also by taking recourse to social shock absorbers.

5. Are the accommodation facilities allowed to reopen?

Accommodation facilities are considered Permitted Activities, given that “hotels and other similar accommodations” (where marked by the ATECO code no. 55.1) are included within Annex 3 of the 26 April 2020 Decree.

In this regard, Federalberghi, the national hotel operators’ association, created a task force to develop the procedures and remedies that the companies involved in the tourism-accommodation sector will be required to adopt in the so-called “phase 2” in view of resuming their ordinary activity. These prescriptions are included in a national protocol, named “Safe Reception3”, composed of: (a) schedules dedicated to specific areas of the corporate activity (related to the reception, cleaning of rooms and of common areas, supply of food and beverage, as well as holding of meetings, conferences and events); and (b) general schedules, including, among others, (i) information for guests and collaborators; (ii) individual protection devices; (iii) management of contagion risks; and (iv) specimens of communications addressed to the guests.

6. What provisions apply to travel from abroad to Italy?

Anyone wishing to enter Italy must, in any case, comply with the obligation of health surveillance and fiduciary isolation for 14 days. At the time of entry it will be necessary to draw up an appropriate declaration indicating: (a) the reasons for the trip (which can only be those referred to in article 1, paragraph 1, letter a) of the 26 April 2020 Decree, as better described in point 1 above – " Which movements shall be allowed under the 26 April 2020 Decree?"); (ii) the address of the home or residence in Italy where the period of health surveillance and fiduciary isolation will be carried out; and (iii) a telephone number to receive communications during this period. Persons are also allowed to enter Italy for short stays: in this case, however, travel may be justified only for proven working purposes and for a period not exceeding 72 hours, unless justified for a further 48 hours. At the end of this period of stay, it is compulsory to leave the national territory immediately or, failing that, to start the period of health surveillance and fiduciary isolation. The transport carriers and ship-owners must adopt the guidelines set out in the "Shared regulatory protocol for the control of the spread of Covid-19 in the transport and logistics sector" (referred to in our Alert of 27 April 2020 at the following link), and the provisions of the "Guidelines for information to users and organizational procedures for the control of the spread of Covid-19".

7. What can be expected from 18 May onwards for business activities?

As stated above, at the press conference of 26 April 2020, the Prime Minister anticipated that the reopening will be gradual and will take place in several stages. First, the essential business activities will be resumed, then the catering and sports activities and finally the personal care activities. For the time being – except in case of possible increases in the number of infections – following the first reopening scheduled for 4 May, from 18 May it is expected that the following activities will be reopened:

  • retail commercial activities; and
  • musea, exhibitions and libraries.

For the same date it is currently planned to resume training sessions for team sports recognized by CONI (including football). However, the Prime Minister stated that nothing has been decided yet by the Government regarding the possible resume of the Serie A football championship.

Finally, from 1 June onwards, restaurants and bars and personal care activities5 (beauty centers, hairdressers, barbers and spas) may reopen, while schools at all levels will remain closed until September.


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