Two weeks ago, Milan Fashion Week was entering its final days — and concerns about the coronavirus outbreak were just beginning to surface. This weekend, as the situation devastates the fashion capital, Italy is effectively locking it down.
A government measure stipulates that people will be banned from entering or exiting the Lombardy region, which includes Milan, and other northern and central provinces until April 3. Movement inside the area, which also includes one of the shoe industry’s main manufacturing districts, will be limited.
The move impacts about 16 million people in Italy, according to reports. Bloomberg first reported news of the measure on Saturday.
As of Saturday, the Italian government reported that the death toll from the coronavirus had reached 233, with the total number of cases rising to 5,883. The country has been hit harder than any other area of Europe, and cases have risen dramatically in the past few days. The government action is being put in the place to try and halt the spread of coronavirus further.
Many of the industry’s biggest fashion houses, including Prada, Versace, Valentino, Armani and Dolce & Gabbana are headquartered in the city. Giorgio Armani made a last-minute decision to hold his Milan Fashion Week show on Feb. 23 inside an empty theater.
Major Italian footwear brands, including Gianvito Rossi, Sergio Rossi and Giuseppe Zanotti, among many others also have a significant presence in Milan, the financial hub of Italy.
The city has been paralyzed for the past two weeks — and business is being significantly impacted from retail to fall 2020 wholesale buying. Major department store buyers were set to finalize orders in the city’s showrooms in the days following fashion week, but they were forced to cancel their trips.
While Paris Fashion Week went on as planned, some events were called off, many stateside buyers decided not to come at all and others went home.
This story has been updated.