April 30, 2020 / 11:22 AM / a month ago

Prada gradually restarts production in Italy, to test employees

FILE PHOTO: A closed shop of fashion group Prada is seen amid the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) outbreak, on the Bahnhofstrasse shopping street in Zurich, Switzerland April 14, 2020. REUTERS/Arnd Wiegmann

(Reuters) - Fashion house Prada (1913.HK) said on Thursday it had restarted production at several sites across Italy after almost two months of strict lockdown to contain the spread of the coronavirus.

The company said it reopened its industrial sites in Tuscany on April 20 and those in the central regions of Umbria, Marche and the northern region of Veneto - one of the hardest-hit areas - after that.

It added some workshops in its Milan headquarters were also back at work.

The group said it was implementing a full-range of security measures for staff, including antibody and viral tests.

Other luxury groups, including Kering’s (PRTP.PA) Gucci, Ferragamo (SFER.MI) and Valentino, have partially reopened activities in Italy since April 20, with more businesses in the country due to restart from May 4.

Prada said the safety measures at its sites also included reduced working hours or staggered shifts, as well as temperature testing and the supply of protective kits.

From April 28, the company is carrying out antibody testing for all employees who have returned to work and those testing positive will also receive a viral test. Both tests are done on site.

“The company’s entire workforce will receive serological testing on a monthly basis, with no end date currently set for the screening programme,” it said in a statement.

The company, which is paying for all tests conducted on its staff, will also extend the screening process to the family members of any employee testing positive, it said.

Reporting by Claudia Cristoferi, editing by Giulia Segreti and Mark Potter

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