Italian furniture businesses urge early reopening

Nine Italian furniture businesses have come together to ask if they can get back to work after signing a joint manifesto to its Government.

B&B Italia, Bisazza, Boffi, Cappellini, Cassina, Flexform, Giorgetti, Molteni Group and Poltrona Frau all combined to issue a manifesto asking to recommence production early ahead of Italy’s extended lockdown to at least 3 May 2020.

The firms said they are worried about mounting backlog of orders and competition from countries already operating under fewer restrictions.

The manifesto said: “We could lose 20–30% of our industrial heritage and witness serious damage to the industry. All of this would inevitably result in the loss of tens of thousands of jobs. It could take 20–30 years to recover what we would lose in a few weeks.”

The petition states that production can be adapted to maintain social distancing rules and that the factories are generally safe places, while operating showrooms can still be achieved by controlling numbers so there is no risk of overcrowding.

It reads: “Today, furniture and design companies are asking to be able to begin a progressive and safe reopening process from the 14th of April. It is our workforce who ask us, together with customers from all over the world with whom we are in constant daily contact.

“The factories are ready and safe, the rules clear and perfectly enforceable. Financial aids and measures for credit are important but if production does not start we will no longer have companies that are able to take those measures once available. Together with the production it is also important to be able to open the furniture stores again soon.

“In our sector, we usually have very large shop floors with a small and distributed influx of people, not at all concentrated at the same time. The risk of over-crowding is practically nonexistent. In any case, a temporary regulation to control access or by appointment only could be easily implemented.”

View the manifesto in full here.