The number of Italians who will lose their jobs as a result of the pandemic and the ensuing three-month lockdown, one of the strictest in the world, is not yet known.
Amid warnings of social unrest, the government has extended until the end of the year a scheme under which companies receive financial help to keep on their employees.
A ban on firing people has also been extended until December but it will have to come to an end at some point, and depending on the strength of economic recovery, it may just delay the inevitable.
The president of Italy’s employers’ federation warned that the country could be looking at one million people losing their jobs once furlough schemes come to an end.
Carlo Bonomi, the president of Confindustria, told La Stampa newspaper: “A million job losses is, unfortunately, a credible figure. The risks of a haemorrhage are serious.”
He criticised the government for failing to come up with a clear plan to restart the economy and reopen schools in mid-September.
Italy’s tourism industry has been hardest hit by the crisis
More than a third of Italian businesses now say they are at risk of closure, according to Istat, the national statistics agency, despite the government providing cheap loans, furlough schemes and emergency welfare support.
“The impact of the crisis on businesses was of an extraordinary intensity and rapidity, leading to serious risks to their survival,” said the agency’s Roberto Monducci in a recent presentation to parliament.
Tourism is one of the most visible sectors to have been hit hard by Covid-19.
Millions of tourists who would normally have headed for the beaches of Sicily or the canals of Venice have stayed away this summer, depriving the country of billions of euros in revenue.
International arrivals were down by 90pc by the end of July, according to the national tourism agency, Enit.
Five of the most iconic destinations – Rome, Venice, Florence, Turin and Milan – will lose €7.6bn (£6.8bn) in revenue this year as a result of the dearth of foreign visitors, according to a report by business association Confesercenti.