March 11, 2020 / 8:06 PM / 23 days ago

Starbucks and others shut shops in Italy amid coronavirus lockdown

MILAN (Reuters) - From Starbucks (SBUX.O) to Giorgio Armani, several Italian and foreign groups shut down their shops in Italy as the country fights to contain the worst outbreak of coronavirus outside China.

After an initial lockdown in the north failed to prevent the spread, the government on Monday banned all non-essential travel and public gatherings throughout Italy until April 3, halted all sports events and extended a shutdown of schools.

Clothing chain Benetton said it would close all its directly managed shops in Italy for two weeks starting from Thursday in an effort to protect both employees and customers against the spread of the disease.

Separately, the holding company of the Benetton family, Edizione, said it was donating 3 million euros to four Italian hospitals to help fight the outbreak.

The group led by fashion designer Giorgio Armani said it was temporarily shutting its boutiques, restaurants and hotel in Milan, the country’s financial capital and the main city in the Lombardy region, where the highest number of contagions and deaths have been recorded.

Starbucks also said on its website it was shutting its coffee shops across Italy until April 3, while fast food chain Burger King said its stores would remain closed until the end of the health emergency.

Confirmed cases in the country, where the outbreak first emerged in the last week of February, rose to 12,462 on Wednesday, from a previous 10,149, with the death toll jumping by 196 in 24 hours to 827.

Reporting by Silvia Aloisi and Francesca Landini, Editing by William Maclean

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