As the Italian government has extended emergency measures nationwide in a move to avoid the coronavirus spreading further, Fulvia Bacchi, General Manager, UNIC, told ILM the country’s tanneries are working as usual for now, but that the sector foresees a significant slowdown in the next coming months. “Without doubt, we are experiencing a complex situation, but the Italian tanneries, which we are honoured to represent, are continuing their work”, said UNIC, adding that the Italian tanneries “are always at the cutting edge in seeking sustainable solutions and are able to guarantee the quality of the entire supply chain.”

On March 9, Giuseppe Conte, Italy’s Prime Minister, ordered a nationwide lockdown, meaning Italian citizens have to stay home and seek permission for essential travel; a measure designed to particularly protect the most vulnerable. Italy has registered over 9,150 cases of COVID-19, with the number of deaths linked to disease totalling 463, the worst-hit country after China. Companies such as British Airways announced they have suspended all flights to Italy.

The Italian government said it is preparing measures to support workers and companies across the country to try to prevent “lasting damage to the supply side of the Italian economy and permanent employment losses”. UNIC estimates the Italian sector’s turnover to decline 10% in 2020 due to the coronavirus.