Law firms in France are in full coronavirus prevention mode, updating and rehearsing contingency plans to protect staff and their business, and labor lawyers said they are advising clients to do the same — now — before a crisis is declared.

As the number of cases in northern Italy continues to rise, French health authorities have stepped up preventive measures to protect the public against the further spread of COVID-19, as the virus is called. The government has also announced expanded salary support for workers who need to be sent home on quarantine, a move it hopes will encourage employers and workers not to push their limits and put others at risk.