OMB Tells Agencies to Be Flexible When Managing Contracts in the Time of COVID-19

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Wiley Rein – As the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) continues to significantly impact day-to-day life, federal contractors have been seeking guidance from agencies on how COVID-19 will affect their contracts. On Friday, March 20, 2020, the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) issued a memorandum to the heads of executive departments and agencies to address the management of federal contract performance issues associated with COVID-19. The memo urges agencies to be flexible in allowing contractors to telework and asks agencies to allow extensions for those contracts that cannot support flexible work arrangements. The memo also reminds agencies of the emergency procurement authorities that are available under the Robert T. Stafford Disaster Relief and Emergency Assistance Act (Stafford Act), including increasing the micro-purchase and simplified acquisition thresholds to allow for quicker procurements. Finally, the memo includes responses to “Frequently Asked Questions” about teleworking, mitigating the impact of COVID-19 on contractors, contractor requests for equitable adjustment (REAs), increasing flexibility in procurement activities, and tracking contract spending related to COVID-19.

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