Coronavirus in Italy: the Decree of March 25 no. 19 sets up to five years in jail and € 3000 in fines for violating rules

Coronavirus in Italy: the Decree March 25 no. 19 sets up to five years in jail and € 3000 in fines for violating rules

The Italian Government has published a new Decree-Law as the number of Coronavirus-related deaths in Italy reached 6820 on March 24, 2020, according to the Italian authority “Protezione Civile”. The number of deaths has now increased to 9134 according to the press conference held by the same authroithy on March 27, 2020 at 6 pm.

Decree-Law no. 19 of 25 March 2020 on “Urgent measures to deal with the COVID-19 epidemiological emergency” was published in the Official Gazette, and thus became effective on 26 March 2020.

It is a decree-law and, thus, according to art. 77 of the Italian Constitution it is immediately valid and effective, but it will have to be converted into law within 60 days from its publication into the Official Gazette which happened on March 25, 2020.

We will try to summarize its content here below.

Art.1 In order to contain and combat the health risks arising from the spread of the COVID-19 virus, in specific parts of the national territory or, if necessary, in all of it, one or more of the measures referred to in paragraph 2 (here below) may be adopted, in accordance with the provisions of this decree, for predetermined periods,
each lasting no more than thirty days, which may be repeated and amended several times until 31 July 2020 (end of the state of emergency).

One or more of the following measures may be adopted:

  • limitation of the movement of people, also providing for limitations on the possibility of leaving their residence, domicile or home if not for individual movements limited in time and space or motivated by work needs, situations of need or urgency, health reasons or other specific reasons;
  • closure of urban streets, parks, etc.
  • restrictions or prohibition on leaving and entering municipal, provincial, regional territories as well as the national territory
  • application of the precautionary quarantine measure to persons who have had close contact with confirmed cases of infectious disease
  • Absolute prohibition to move away from one’s home or residence for people under quarantine because they tested positive for the virus;
  • limitation or prohibition of meetings or gatherings in public places or open to the public
  • limitation or suspension of events or initiatives of any kind, events and any other form of meeting in public or private places, including cultural, recreational, sporting, recreational and religious events or gatherings
  • suspension of civil and religious ceremonies, limitation of access to places of worship
  • closing of cinemas, theatres, concert halls dance halls and similar
  • suspension of congresses, of any kind of meeting or social event and of any other convention or congress activity, except for the possibility of holding them in remote mode ( conferences)
  • limitation or suspension of sporting events and competitions of any order and discipline in public or private places, including the possibility of temporary closure of gyms, spas, sports centres, swimming pools, etc.
  • limitation or suspension of recreational activities, sports and motor sports carried out outdoors or in places open to the public
  • the possibility of ordering or entrusting to the competent state and regional authorities the limitation, reduction, suspension or abolition of services of transport of persons and goods, motor, rail, air, sea, inland waterway and local public transport
  • suspension of childcare educational services of which in Article 2 of Legislative Decree no. 65 of 13 April 2017, and the educational activities of schools of all grades and levels, as well as higher education institutions, including universities, of professional courses, masters, etc. except for the possibility of holding them in remote mode
  • suspension of educational trips, guided tours and educational outings planned by educational institutions of all levels both in Italy and abroad
  • limitation or suspension of services of opening to the public or closure of museums and other cultural institutions and venues
  • limitation of the physical presence of employees in the offices of public administrations, without prejudice to activities that cannot be postponed and the provision of essential services, with priority being given to the use of “smart working”
  • limitation or suspension of competitive and selective procedures aimed at recruiting staff from public and private employers
  • limitation or suspension of commercial retail activities, with the exception of those necessary to ensure the availability of agricultural products, food and basic necessities to be carried out in such a way as to avoid a gathering of people, with the obligation of the manager to provide the necessary conditions to ensure compliance with a predetermined and adequate interpersonal safety distance to prevent or reduce the risk of contagion
  • limitation or suspension of the activities of the public supply of drinks and food, as well as on-site consumption of food and drink, including bars and restaurants
  • limitation or suspension of other business or professional activities, including where they involve the exercise of public functions, as well as self-employment, and similar
  • limitation to the holding of fairs and markets, with the exception of those necessary to ensure the availability of agricultural, food and basic necessities
  • specific prohibitions or restrictions for persons accompanying patients in the waiting rooms of the Emergency and Reception and First Aid Departments (DEA/PS)
  • limitation of access of relatives and visitors to facilities of hospitality and long hospitalization, assisted health residences and similar
  • reporting obligations to the National Health System for those who have transited and stayed in epidemiological risk areas as identified by the World Health Organization or the Minister of Health
  • adoption of information and prevention measures with regard to epidemiological risk
  • arrangement of smart working methods, also in derogation of the regulations currently in force
  • provision that the permitted activities are carried out only after the person in charge takes measures suitable for to avoid groups of people, with the obligation to arrange the conditions to ensure compliance with the safety distance predetermined interpersonal and adequate to prevent or reduce the risk of contagion; for public services where it is not possible to respect this interpersonal distance, prediction of anti-contagion security protocols, with the adoption of instruments of individual protection
  • possible provision for exclusions from the economic activities referred to in this paragraph, with verification on a case-by-case basis entrusted to specifically identified public authorities.

For the duration of the emergency referred to in paragraph 1, the performance of activities not subject to suspension may be imposed as a result of the application of the measures referred to in this article (1), where this is absolutely necessary to ensure their effectiveness and public utility, by order of the Prefect taken after hearing, without formality, the social partners concerned.

Art. 2 The measures referred to in Article 1 shall be adopted by means of one or more decrees of the President of the Council of Ministers, after consulting the various ministries and presidents of the regions or the President of the Conference of Regions and Autonomous Provinces.

The measures already adopted with the decrees of the Prime Minister adopted on 8 March 2020, 9 March 2020, 11 March 2020 and 22 March 2020, as still in force on the date of entry into force of this decree, shall continue to apply within the original terms. The other measures, still in force on the same date, continue to apply for a further ten days.

Art. 3 Pending the adoption of the decrees of the Prime Minister referred to in Article 2(1) and with
limited effectiveness up to that moment, the regions,
in relation to specific situations where the situation has increased the health care risk occurred in their territory or in a part of it, may introduce further restrictive measures, among those referred to in Article 1(2), exclusively in the context of the activities within their competence and without affecting the productive activities and those of strategic importance for the national economy.

The Mayors shall not adopt, on penalty of ineffectiveness, continual and urgent ordinances aimed at dealing with the emergency in contrast with state measures, nor exceeding the limits of the object referred to in paragraph 1.

Art. 4 Unless the act constitutes a crime, failure to comply with the containment measures set out in the decree is punished with the administrative sanction of the payment of a sum of between 400 and 3,000 euros and the contraventional sanctions set out in Article 650 of the Penal Code do not apply. If the failure to comply with the above measures occurs through the use of a vehicle, the penalties are increased by up to one third.

In the case of infractions committed by public establishments or productive or commercial activities, an accessory administrative sanction of the closure of the activity from 5 to 30 days may be imposed.

Paragraphs 1, 2 and 2.1 of Article 202 of Legislative Decree No 285 of 30 April 1992 on reduced payment shall apply (the sum is reduced by 30% if payment is made within 30 days (until 31 May) of the day of the fine or of the notification).

It has also been specified that the provisions of the legislative decree that replace criminal sanctions with administrative sanctions also apply to violations committed before the date of entry into force of the same decree (26 March), but in such cases the administrative sanctions are applied to the minimum extent reduced by half.

Art. 5 Entitled Final provisions, it lists the abrogated provisions, establishes that the decree also applies to the Special Statute Regions and the Autonomous Provinces of Trento and Bolzano, and clarifies that the implementation of this decree will not result in new or increased financial charges.

Art. 6. The last article states that the Decree shall enter into force on the day following that of its publication in the Official Journal of the Italian Republic and, therefore, on 26 March 2020.


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