MILAN — Italy is taking exceptional measures to contain the financial impact expected by the coronavirus.
The country’s Minister of Economy Roberto Gualtieri on Sunday proposed a new decree for additional resources totaling 3.6 billion euros that would help support jobs and the sectors that are being dented by the outbreak of the virus. The decree will have to be approved by Parliament to be implemented.
The government has already suspended a number of taxes and state payments for citizens and companies in the 11 towns that have been hit by the virus in Italy to the tune of 900 million euros, bringing the extraordinary measures to a total of 4.5 billion euros.
The government also decided over the weekend that schools in the Lombardy, Veneto and Emilia Romagna regions — the three with the most infected individuals — would remain closed for another eight days, reopening on March 9. This is a precautionary measure as the two-week closure is seen as a means to contain the spread of the virus since the date the first case was detected in Codogno, about one-hour’s drive from Milan.
The coronavirus has also led to political squabbles, with Italy’s right-wing League opposition party, led by Matteo Salvini attacking the government’s reaction to the crisis. As reported, the country’s Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte, Milan’s Mayor Giuseppe Sala and other political allies have been working to assuage concerns, expressing confidence in the scientific community, as worries grow over the impact of the crisis on major industries such as tourism, fashion and the Made in Italy label.
In fact, in an interview with Italy’s daily La Repubblica on Sunday, OTB founder Renzo Rosso lamented the measures taken so far in the country, defining them as “too strict” and the “absurdity” of the reaction to the coronavirus, accusing the political class of being “unprepared” to face the outbreak, which hit Italy as “an atomic bomb” and spreading more panic than necessary. Comparing the reaction of France and Paris, where Fashion Week was held “with zero problems,” despite the fact that “they have the same problems we have,” Rosso said that after “Giorgio Armani closed his show to the public [on the last day of Milan Fashion Week] a crazy panic started everywhere, buyers ran away from Milan.”
Rosso added that OTB, which controls Diesel, Marni, Viktor & Rolf and Maison Margiela, among others, “saved the orders of the Marni collection because we moved Milan’s showroom to Paris overnight.” French fashion companies “immediately teamed up,” he contended, opting to hold the shows as planned.
“We on the other hand always do what we want, each on our own, as Armani did, for example,” Rosso said.