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Force Majeure and Other Contractual Considerations in the Wake of the COVID-19 Pandemic

On March 11, 2020, the World Health Organization (WHO) declared the respiratory illness called coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) a pandemic, making it the first time that the WHO has declared an outbreak a pandemic since the H1N1 “swine flu” in 2009. As the COVID-19 pandemic continues its rapid, global spread and the numbers of cases and deaths rise, the commercial effects for businesses also increase, including labor issues, regulatory issues from governmental restrictions and quarantines, supply chain and logistics issues from transportation and facility disruptions, and privacy issues from the use and disclosure of medically sensitive personal information. Because these commercial effects may result in an impacted party’s inability to fully perform its obligations under its contracts, companies should consider the risks under existing contracts, as well as how to address COVID-19 and other epidemics and pandemics in future contracts. Read more…