As Italy continues to take measures to tame its coronavirus outbreak, some natural refrigeration manufacturers, which shut down manufacturing between March 20 and April 3, have begun reopening their facilities in some cases in preparation for an expected complete reopening on April 14.
Enex, a major manufacturer of transcritical CO2 systems, hasstarting reopening “after adopting all measures for protection of workers,” said its president, Sergio Girotto. “We assume a complete opening (at 100%) will be from 14th of April; it depends, however, on measures decided by the government.”
In the lead-up to April 3, the Italian government announced that it was extending the two-week shutdown from April 3 until April 13, with an exception for “essential activities.” Girotto said his company falls within the essential category. “Our need to be open this week is that [four] supermarkets need equipment we have almost ready, and the food chain is one essential activity,” said Girotto. He said maintenance of HVAC for hospitals is considered essential, along with refrigeration maintenance for supermarkets.
Girotto added that on April 10 “everybody will close until 14th of April, when we expect that the factories can open.”
Other Italian companies are taking different approaches to the government decree. Compressor manufacturer Frascold announced that on April 6 it would reopen the production and shipping departments at its Rescaldina plant. But Arneg said it was extending its closure until April 13, adding, “In case of further extensions, we will adapt to any new decrees.”
Meanwhile, European HVAC&R industry organizations Eurovent and REHVA have called upon authorities in Europe and the world to recognize manufacturing, installation and maintenance/repair of HVAC&R equipment as essential business activities during the COVID-19 pandemic, and provide them with “reasonable exemptions” from shutdown orders and travel restrictions.
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