Tuesday 31 March 2020

Stefano Ciuoffo, the Tuscan Region’s councillor for production activities, credit, commerce and tourism, has appealed to citizens not to respond to the restrictive measures aimed at containing the Covid-19 virus by flooding large retailers like supermarkets, and instead to do their shopping at local grocers and craft food outlets.

“I ask the people of Tuscany not to overwhelm the supermarkets, and instead help to lower the risk of infection by shopping at those shops that enrich the commercial and social fabric of our towns and cities. Small retailers too are fighting in this period, keeping their shops open and offering a public service for which we should all be grateful. Such shops are the life and soul of our streets, of our cities, towns and villages: they play an important social role in more normal times, but now more than ever we need to rediscover the value of the service and the certitude that they offer, especially in the smaller villages. I ask you to use them for your shopping, particularly if you are only buying a few things, and bear in mind that many such enterprises offer home delivery, in accordance with all the necessary safety measures. Let us help ourselves to help them and keep them going. Even for food outlets this is a difficult period, but we will get through it together and create work for those who are putting themselves at risk in order to offer us a quality service.”

The appeal has been widely publicised, not least by food production associations.

“To the councillor’s appeal,” said Nico Gronchi, president of Confesercenti Toscana, “the trade associations give a resounding yes. We will broadcast it and we will practise what we preach, continuing our work to unite the hundreds of small businesses, even in the little Tuscan villages, that are not only open but have also set themselves up for home delivery, thereby delivering a vitally important service in the fight against the virus.”

Anna Lapini, president of Confcommercio Toscana, commented: “Now like never before the social and practical importance of local businesses has become clear to us all. The shop below the house, as so many of us have realised in these difficult days of self-isolation, guarantees a safe, convenient service, and many of them have equipped themselves for home delivery, as in the past. The villages and districts that have seen the closure of their last artisan food outlet are deeply unfortunate, for such a shop would have been a great ally during this health emergency.”

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