Disrupting the Disruptor: How a Prepared and Proactive Owner Can Mitigate the Effects of Coronavirus on Construction Projects

Scott A. Greer, John H. Fontham and Kaleb Walker | King & Spalding

Once a remote health issue in China, the rapidly spreading coronavirus (COVID-19) has become not only a global health concern but also potentially a global economic disruptor that could impact nearly every industry. The construction industry is no exception, and owners and contractors alike should evaluate and take proactive measures with respect to the physical and economic risks that coronavirus could pose for their projects. For owners and contractors, the virus presents significant risks to critical aspects of the project, including the health of project personnel, potential supply chain disruptions, and the increased potential of cost impacts and schedule delays, regardless of the contractual responsibility for infectious diseases. However, prepared and proactive owners and contractors can, with some forethought and groundwork, take simple yet effective measures to mitigate—or even prevent—these potential health, cost, and schedule risks.

Take Care of the Owner Team

A critical step for any owner is to take care of its personnel on the project, ensuring that such personnel are safe and able to successfully execute their roles on the project. This includes setting up the proper procedural infrastructure to minimize the risk of infection and to keep all personnel healthy and working—no matter the work site.

Developing and implementing a basic, multi-faceted COVID‑19 risk management plan is a good starting point. One aspect of the plan should be to manage the travel of the owner’s personnel to reduce the risk of infection. As an initial step, an owner might set up (and continually update) a list of countries to and from which its personnel should consider not traveling without company approval, or if travel is necessary, establish conditions and precautions under which such travel is taken. An owner should also consider eliminating all non‑essential travel. If someone has already traveled to a restricted country without necessary precautions (whether for business or personal reasons) or otherwise becomes infected, a next step would be to evaluate the impact that this travel might have on such person, including potentially implementing a mandatory quarantine period for such persons.

An owner’s risk plan should also identify preventative steps and proactively identify potential cases of coronavirus. For example, owner personnel should be aware of the list of COVID‑19 symptoms (e.g., posting COVID‑19 signage in offices and other work sites)[1], and all personnel should be required to immediately report any such symptoms. Owners should also consider encouraging personnel experiencing symptoms of illness to stay home or otherwise refrain from reporting to the workplace, including providing paid sick time under appropriate circumstances.

In addition to health mitigation techniques, an owner should also plan in advance for potential economic disruptions. This includes making necessary preparations so that owner personnel can work remotely in the event that such personnel exhibit COVID‑19 symptoms as well as establishing protocols to temporarily close non‑essential offices. Such preparations might include providing laptops to additional employees to increase remote work capabilities, installing necessary programs and software on all work laptop computers (e.g., CAD software or Primavera scheduling software), setting up filesharing sites, implementing WebEx or other tele‑meeting capabilities, and permitting personnel to log into the owner’s systems by remote access VPN. With such measures in place, infected or quarantined personnel may continue progressing the project remotely, even during a quarantine scenario.

Have the Contractor Manage Potential Impacts

A central piece of an owner’s coronavirus mitigation strategy should be to have the contractor take proactive steps to prevent and manage potential impacts on the project. This means reviewing the engineering, procurement and construction agreement (“EPC”) or construction agreement to identify provisions requiring the contractor or supplier to mitigate impacts related to the coronavirus, assessing whether contractor has established adequate mitigation measures, and notifying contractor of any additional steps it should be taking. An owner should consider taking these steps regardless of the party who bears the responsibility for impacts that may be caused by coronavirus. A good starting point would be for an owner to consider how certain contractual issues—such as equipment and material procurement, HSSE practices, and notice and mitigation requirements—may apply to potential coronavirus impacts.

Supply of Equipment and Materials

Under the EPC or construction contract, the contractor will generally be responsible for supplying equipment and materials necessary for the project. Disruption of global supply chains due to coronavirus, however, may cause delays to the supply of equipment and materials procured from certain source countries and may impede contractor’s (or its subcontractors’, suppliers’, or vendors’) ability to timely supply such equipment and materials. To prevent supply issues, an owner should consider contacting the contractor to make sure that it has an alternative sourcing plan (including a list of back-up sourcing options) to procure the same or sufficiently similar equipment and materials from sources acceptable to the owner.

Health, Safety, Security, and Environmental (HSSE) Measures

Another key step is to ensure that the contractor is performing the work in accordance with its HSSE policies, the owner’s HSSE policies, or both (as applicable). For an owner, this means dusting off the contractor’s HSSE plan (or, if not provided as part of the contract, requesting such a plan from the contractor), identifying those HSSE provisions applicable to the health and safety of all personnel and safety at the project site (and other locations work is performed), and ensuring that contractor has mechanisms in place to comply with such HSSE provisions.

Most HSSE plans require the contractor to establish HSSE measures that are specific to the project and the site. Accordingly, an owner should seek to have the contractor establish site‑specific best practices to prevent the spread of coronavirus to the project. Such practices, may include, for example[2]:

  • updating the contractor’s emergency operations plan with the help of the local public health department, emergency operations coordinator or planning team, and other relevant partners to include COVID-19 planning;
  • screening personnel for signs of a coronavirus infection;
  • identifying and allocating space on the project site that can be used to evaluate sick personnel;
  • developing an emergency communication plan for distributing timely and accurate information to on-site personnel;
  • promoting the practice of everyday preventative actions among on‑site personnel (including frequent hand washing with soap and water, cleaning frequently touched objects and surfaces, and requiring personnel to stay home when sick);
  • providing COVID-19 prevention supplies on the project site (e.g., disposable gloves, soap, hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol, tissues, trash baskets, and disposable facemasks in case someone becomes sick while on-site) and setting up sanitation stations on the site; and
  • planning for personnel absences by developing flexible attendance and sick-leave policies, developing and implementing a plan for alternative labor to make up for any such absences, and monitor and track COVID-19 related personnel absences.

The contractor should also consider employing the same steps for its project team that the owner employs for the owner team, as outlined above (i.e., managing the travel of all personnel; proactively identifying potential cases of COVID‑19 infection; posting signage in work sites; making preparations for offsite personnel to work remotely; etc.).

Compliance with Notice and Mitigation Requirements

Another important preparation strategy for an owner is to review the EPC or construction contract and to identify those provisions requiring the contractor to mitigate against or provide notice of potential project impacts due to coronavirus. Some typical provisions would include, for example, providing regular progress reports that identify such impacts on the project, mitigating against force majeure events, and complying with applicable laws and regulations.

To keep abreast of any potential coronavirus risk to the project, owners should request that the contractor provide both regular updates and immediate notice of any potential coronavirus impacts to the project. As a matter of course, the contractor should specify in each progress report any potential coronavirus impacts on the project (whether occurring at the project site or elsewhere around the world—for instance, the disruption of a particular supply chain in a foreign country). In addition, the contractor should provide immediate notice of any potential coronavirus infections affecting the project (e.g., providing same‑day notice of any personnel exhibiting COVID‑19 symptoms and identifying any quarantine actions taken for such personnel).

In order to effect Contractor’s mitigation obligations, owners should request that the contractor describe back‑up plans for such impacts. For example, if the supply chain for certain materials in a source country has been disrupted, the contractor should be prepared to timely procure such materials from alternative sources agreeable to the owner to prevent potential delays to the project schedule. Or, if the rapid spread of the virus decreases the availability of healthy laborers, the contractor should be prepared to turn to alternative labor sources that have been identified in advance. Knowing these “Plan B” options upfront will benefit both the owner and the contractor in minimizing impacts to the project, will head‑off claims of force majeure (if allowed under the applicable contract), and will ultimately reduce the risk of cost and schedule overruns.

Just as importantly, owners should inquire as to how the contractor will comply with any recent COVID‑19 related laws and regulations applicable to the project. This could include, for example, describing how the contractor will update its HSSE practices to account for any local, state, or federal regulations imposing on-site COVID‑19 prevention measures.

Consider Contacting Lenders and Insurance Brokers

In addition to shoring up its own internal mitigation efforts and those of the contractor, an owner should also consider contacting its lender (if any) and insurance broker to get ahead of any potential COVID‑19 impacts. An owner is well served to update and work with its lender, as an informed lender will want to work collaboratively through potential COVID‑19 issues.

An owner should promptly and proactively evaluate its potential insurance coverage for impacts to the project caused by coronavirus and should take steps to ensure compliance with any policy conditions, such as providing notice to and cooperating with potentially responsive insurers. Personal injury claims arising from the sickness of an individual may be covered by worker’s compensation, employer’s liability, and/or general liability policies. Project delays and associated loss of business income may be covered by the owner’s property, business interruption, delay in start-up, and/or contingent business interruption coverages. For example, many such policies cover losses sustained when a “civil authority” limits or prohibits access to the project premises and/or to a supplier’s premises.

In addition, actual or perceived exposure of the premises to an individual who has contracted COVID-19 may fall within the policies’ grants of coverage for “physical loss of or damage to insured property.” It is important to work with your insurance brokers to avoid missing any deadlines and to avoid any missteps on compliance with policy requirements. Experienced coverage counsel also is critical to evaluating potential sources of insurance coverage and maximizing recovery.

Disrupting the Disruptor

As exemplified by the coronavirus, project teams in today’s environment should take a more wholistic and proactive approach to safety planning that includes the risk of disruption due to infectious diseases. Owners should work collaboratively with contractors (and others, such as lenders and brokers) to develop a multi‑faceted, front‑end approach to handling such risk. With some preparation and planning, owners can disrupt the potential disruption of coronavirus and other infectious diseases on their projects.

Contractors: Its Time to Send Your COVID-19 Notice

R. Thomas Dunn | Pierce Atwood

The day-to-day professional and personal impact of the COVID-19 pandemic is substantial. The global event will have dozens of common legal implications that we will address in this blog over the coming days, but for now I wanted to start with the basic starting point for any event of delay and/or additional cost on a construction project — THE NOTICE!

The time is now to send your notice.

This is not an adversarial notice. Your contracting party will understand the impacts experienced and should appreciate the proactive approach in communicating the COVID-19 impacts. If discussions have occurred between with your contracting party, I would still send a formal notice as to avoid further legal defenses down the line. Also, providing the formal notice creates a structure that is helpful in creating a productive communication pathway regarding the delays/costs incurred and ways to mitigate them.

No matter what the legal theory, the COVID-19 pandemic and its impact on the construction industry was not anticipated, outside of contractor/owner’s control, and it is causing delays and impacts to construction operations. Determining permissible events of delay are fact-intensive inquiries — so it will take time to fully realize the impact. But, you likely know there is an impact now. The impacts may increase and become more “black and white.” For example, here in Boston, effective March 17, 2020 (as I am writing this post), the City of Boston suspended construction activities for two weeks. While essential services will continue and the policy will be revisited in two weeks, it is clear that a governmental order has delayed Boston construction projects. To view the City’s press release and announcement, see our prior post.

Whether it is invoking a force majeure clause or relying upon the common law doctrines of impossibility and frustration of purpose, the first step is to notify your contracting party that you are being delayed. Your contract likely requires immediate/prompt notice and, even if it does not, starting this dialogue is essential to the success of your project. Here are some questions to ask and points to cover in your notice letter:

Does your contract require notice to be sent by a particular method? If so, follow that notice requirement. If you are unsure, then send the notice in a variety of methods to ensure it is received by your contracting party. At a minimum, I suggest sending it by email, overnight courier, and certified mail. Many contracts still have the certified mail requirement in them. Another alternative is to contact your contracting parties and confirm that they will accept service by email and waive any contractual requirements. This could be incorporated into your notice, and if used, I would be sure to follow-up to confirm receipt within a day or two.

Explain the contractual grounds for your request. It is easy for me to say “read your contract” when I know that you presently are being pulled in a thousand different directions. But, to ensure that your notice will fulfill its purpose, it is worth the investment of time (whether it is your or your counsel’s time) to review the contract and provide a tie-in with the contract.

  • Time Extensions. At a minimum, you will likely be noticing an event that is causing delay to project performance. As such, an extension of the “Contract Time” is required. The AIA, ConsensusDocs, and governmental contracts all have force majeure and/or time extension provisions that permit extensions of contract time. Section 8.3.1 of the AIA A201 permits time extensions for “causes beyond the contractor’s control.” Section 6.3 of ConsensusDocs 200 similarly provides an extension of time for “any cause beyond the control of the Constructor.” The ConsensusDocs goes further by providing examples of such causes which include “(j) epidemics; (k) adverse governmental actions; and (l) unavoidable accidents or circumstances.” Thus, emphasize in your notice letter that the delays caused by the COVID-19 epidemic were unanticipated and beyond your control.
  • Delay Costs. The language of your contract may or may not permit you to recover costs. For example, subparagraph (j)-(l) quoted above from Section 6.3 of ConsensDocs 200 excludes those items from compensable delay events. But, the reality is that contractors, owners, suppliers, and all project participants will incur some additional labor, material, and equipment cost associated with COVID-19. Determining which party will bear (or share in) those costs will depend upon numerous variables, including the contract language, the project participants, and arbitrators/judges (should the matter proceed to dispute resolution). It will be in all parties best interest to find ways to practice techniques of dispute avoidance during this time period to the extent possible. Nevertheless, I would include in your notice letter that there is a cost impact to your operations. Be as specific as possible regarding the costs incurred or anticipated additional costs. For example, the letter could include the daily cost of equipment on site and describe the measures your company is taking to ensure the safety of your workforce. Commit to providing an update regarding the costs and provide periodic updates. If you collect and provide that information as it is being developed, you will avoid surprise and also engage your contracting party to participate in cost mitigation efforts.
  • Material Escalations. Your contract may also have particular provisions regarding increased material costs. If it does not and you are experiencing supply chain slowdowns and/or increased costs, include that in your notice letter.

Explain impacts on project performance. Make the cause and effect tie in the letter regarding how the COVID-19 measures are directly impacting the project schedule and/or causing increased costs. This does not have to be a complete list, but put some effort into making the notice unique to the facts of your contract and your contractual performance. State that you will provide periodic updates.

Project Suspensions. If your project has been suspended by governmental order, as in Boston, or by the owner or other authorities, provide a notice of project suspension as well. Some of the standard form contracts have particular suspension provisions that allow the contractor remedies if there is an extended suspension of the Work. For example, the AIA A201, section 14.1 permits a contractor to terminate a contract if the Work is stopped for 30 consecutive days through no fault of the contractor (or its subs) because:

  1. Issuance of an order of a court or other public authority having jurisdiction that requires all Work to be stopped;
  2. An act of government, such as a declaration of national emergency, that requires all Work to be stopped;

On March 13, 2020, President Trump declared a national emergency. In Boston, the City suspended work for two weeks. If suspensions become more prevalent, then contractors may be able to evaluate whether and when to exercise the termination remedies of the contract. Section 14.1.3 of the A201 provides that “the Contractor may, upon seven days’ notice to Owner and Architect, terminate the Contract and recover from the Owner payment for Work executed, as well as reasonable overhead and profit on Work not executed, and costs incurred by reason of such termination.”

Format. The notice can be short and concise (1-2 pages is fine). It should be plainly written and provide that updates will be given. Here is a suggested template to get past any writers block:

[VIA EMAIL / FED EX / CERTIFIED MAIL – Contract Requirement]

[Name/address listed in contract]

RE: Notice of Delay and Increased Cost Due to COVID-19 Pandemic on Project _____________

Dear ___________:

The COVID-19 Pandemic, which has been declared a national emergency by President Trump on March 13, 2020 [and _______________ (local authorities)] has caused unanticipated delays and increased costs to the above-referenced Project that were beyond the Contractor’s control. See Sections _____ of the Contract.

In particular, Contractor has experienced the following delays and impacts to project performance: _________________. [If applicable,] the project has been suspended since ____________(date).

Contractor requests a time extension of ____ days at this time in response to the COVID-19 delays and impacts. Contractor invites the Owner to participate in a conference call to discuss this request for a time extension and to outline a plan to reduce the impact on the Contract Time and Contract Price.

In addition, Contractor is experiencing increased costs resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic including ______________ (explain). Contractor is collecting its costs and will provide updated information to the Owner in the near future. In the meantime, we are available to discuss different options to reduce the amount of costs incurred in connection with the Project.

Contractor reserves all rights and remedies it has pursuant to the Contract and is confident it will be able to get through these events with Owner and all project participants. Please contact me to discuss these issues and, again, we will provide periodic updates as soon as possible.

Patience and Planning. Like so many, my family and I started working from home yesterday (3/16/2020). I watched Frozen 2 last night with my kids (ages 11 and 8). I couldn’t help but take some guidance/inspiration from Anna’s song about confronting challenge by doing the “The Next Right Thing.”

Tips for Managing a Construction Project During Coronavirus

Stacy Bercun Bohm | Akerman

Below are some measures a project owner may want to consider to address coronavirus related issues and the impact it may have on an owner’s ongoing construction project. Because the response to the coronavirus in the U.S. and around the world seems to be accelerating and changing daily, and because most construction contracts force majeure clauses will likely include delay and disruption due to the coronavirus as an excusable delay, below are some proactive measures an owner can implement in the event their project is impacted:

  1. Check the force majeure clauses of your contracts on all open projects. While it is unlikely that they specifically reference an epidemic, a lot of them are probably vague enough to cover a labor or supply disruption due to an unforeseen act, and would almost definitely do so in the event of a government shutdown. If you have any doubts, contact your construction counsel for guidance.
  2. Request that your contractor provide you with any anticipated project disruption due to the coronavirus, including supply chain delays from materials coming out of China or elsewhere, or a mandatory quarantine that affects your contractor’s workforce, and request that you be immediately notified of the potential schedule impact even if the impact is undetermined. This would include productivity decreases due to workforce absenteeism related to the virus.
  3. Review your contract to see how it addresses escalation in material costs and the party responsible.
  4. Review your insurance policies for the project to determine if there would be any coverage for a disruption. This would most likely be found in a builder’s risk policy or an owner’s loss of use policy. For any new projects where builder’s risk coverage has not yet been bound confirm the policy will cover this type of epidemic and the losses resulting from same.
  5. Start talking to your project participants (construction and design team) now about everyone’s expectations for managing the disruption. Proactively review all applicable insurance coverage and talk to your lenders about what will happen in the event of a disruption.
  6. Create a demobilization plan and remobilization plan in the event of a suspension or a government ordered shutdown.
  7. Review your recorded Notice of Commencement to determine if it needs to be extended and proactively extend it now if necessary.
  8. Encourage people that are sick to stay home. Request that the contractor host a meeting for its subcontractors regarding safety expectations. The contractor should provide a plan of action that provides measures it is taking to prevent the spread of the virus – handwashing, avoiding contact with sick people, etc. Consider whether more extreme measures like actively screening people at the jobsite for signs of illness make sense. Encourage anyone showing symptoms of the virus to seek medical care. Make sure you are documenting all requests to your contractor and measures the owner is taking to prevent the spread at your project and to help mitigate any delay. In the event of a disputed claim with the contractor, that documentation may be helpful.
  9. Consider creating a separate folder or file for each project in which you can file anything related to coronavirus claims, impacts, warnings, etc.

Potential Impacts of the Coronavirus Pandemic on Construction Projects

Niel Franzese | Construction Law Zone

As the coronavirus/COVID-19 pandemic continues to spread and the governmental and private sectors formulate their responses, it has become apparent that the associated economic impacts will be significant and affect all sectors of the economy, including construction. Robinson+Cole’s Construction Group has been monitoring these developments and is already seeing preliminary notices being sent out by contractors and owners warning of potential work stoppages, schedule impacts, and cost increases resulting from the pandemic.

Supply chain disruptions, workforce shortages due to illness and preventative quarantines, and work stoppages due to measures imposed by governmental authorities in an attempt to slow the spread of the virus appear all but inevitable. Project owners and developers are considering reductions in workforce, and other site supervision and general conditions costs, to mitigate extended or added costs that may be incurred due to project slowdowns or suspensions. If necessary, some owners may be exercising their contractual rights to terminate or suspend projects (partially or fully) in light of these issues in order to mitigate the near-certain adverse economic impacts. Similarly, contractors and subcontractors are reserving their rights for added costs and time, and to the extent that they are beginning to incur costs or lose time, asserting preliminary claims for increased time for performance or added costs as a result of the same anticipated issues under force majeure and other claim-related provisions of their project agreements.

The full impacts of the coronavirus pandemic remain to be seen, but some are already manifesting themselves. For example, major news outlets are reporting that, beginning on March 17th, Boston Mayor Marty Walsh ordered all construction projects in the City to shut down for at least two weeks, with the exception of emergency projects such as roadwork and gas hookups. The extent that this ban will be enforced and complied with is unclear, but it is certainly a cause for concern among those with ongoing projects. We will provide further updates as the situation unfolds.

COVID-19 and Construction Projects: Who is responsible for Delays and Cost Increases?

Adam P. Banks, Lauren A. Triebenbach, Michelle Wagner Ebben and Roy E. Wagner | Michael Best & Friedrich

As the country braces for the continued spread of COVID-19, the disruptive effect of this virus is already evident as enumerable events, business, and schools shut their doors. This disruption is also likely to impact the construction industry in the form of labor availability, delays, and costs overruns.

Cononavirus’ impact on global supply lines is expected to be significant. Michael Best partner, Joseph Olson writes HERE about practical steps to consider to remedy supply line issues. China is one of the largest exporters of building materials. Data recently released by the Chinese government shows a 17.2 percent decline in Chinese exports compared to this time last year. Construction suppliers will likely soon feel the strain of supply shortages, followed shortly thereafter by contractors unable find the construction materials, parts, and components required to complete projects. In these scarcity situations, a contractor’s limited option may be to locate more expensive replacements consistent with the contractual terms, where the contractor might be required bear the increased costs associated with replacement parts.

The availability of labor will also suffer under the effects of COVID-19. While the current number of confirmed cases of COVID-19 in the U.S. remains somewhat manageable, health officials are signaling that a sharp increase in the number of confirmed cases and related quarantines is expected in the upcoming weeks. Contractors and project owners can reasonably expect that the virus will add insult to injury, as labor shortages throughout the construction industry are already a well know problem (read Associated General Contractors article HERE). Similarly, certain “crowded” projects may be impacted, if the site is shut down. Owners and General Contractors should anticipate slower progress on construction projects as Subcontractors struggle to keep their workforces healthy and out of quarantine.

The party that bears the risk and the losses resulting from construction delays and increased costs associated with materials shortages will be dictated by contract. Contractors and project owners would be wise to have their contracts reviewed to determine if the contract contains a force majeure or price escalation provision to address potential losses associated with COVID-19.

The party who bears responsibility for the increased materials costs likely depends on whether or not a price escalation provision was negotiated. Escalation provisions allow a party to request additional funds to cover increased materials costs associated with upward price fluctuations. It’s possible for both the Owner/General Contractor and General Contract/Subcontractor to agree upon price escalation provisions that pass increased materials costs up and down the contractual chain. Escalation provision terms vary. Most escalation provisions are tied to a standard index, for example the Consumer Price Index (CPI), and only allow for increased material costs to be passed on after an increase to the index beyond a negotiated threshold. As COVID-19 continues to disrupt world supply lines, the cost of everyday construction materials may be unpredictable. For businesses engaged in long term projects, immediate action is needed to develop a strategy to address potential price increases.

Contract language dealing with delay damages varies. Some contracts provide for liquidated damages, which entitle the aggrieved party to a set amount of damages per day/month of delay, whiles others bar damages for delay through “no damages for delay” provisions. Regardless, a force majeure provision (a/k/a Act’s of god clause) may provide the contractor with a mechanism by which to seek additional time to perform. Force majeure clauses typically provide grounds for non-compensable “excusable delay” for unexpected disruptions which are outside the control of the contractor. For example, under American Institute of Architects General Conditions of the Contract for Construction (AIA Form A201-2017), “unusual delay in deliveries” and/or “other causes beyond the Contractor’s control” may provide the contractor justification for additional time to perform. Likely, the COVID-19 pandemic would qualify for excusable delay under the AIA form, but attention should be given to individual contracts to ensure a similar remedy exists. Going forward all construction contracting drafting should anticipate COVID-19 disruptions.

As the delays and costs overruns become larger, we expect some parties may be forced to look for legal relief using non-contract arguments. Supervening events are unexpected events that occur after a contract has been executed, but before the time to complete performance is due, without the fault of either party, and the non-occurrence of which was a basic assumption of the contract. Two supervening event theories arguably applicable to the COVID-19 outbreak are “Impossibility” and “Commercial Impracticability.” Essentially, these theories allow a party to breach a contract or delay performance if performance becomes impossible or so costly that it’s commercially senseless to perform. While a government mandated quarantine likely qualifies as an “Impossibility,” other situations require a case-specific analysis. The case law on supervening events is state specific and filled with exceptions, so consultation an attorney is needed. We encourage you to reach out to one of the authors of this article, your Michael Best attorney, and/or our firm’s COVID-19 Task Force.

As the coronavirus (COVID-19) continues to spread around the world, we know there is widespread concern about public safety and business disruptions. Michael Best has formed a COVID-19 Task Force to stay up to date on the latest information from governments, public health officials and experts in various industries so we can help our clients adopt best practices for business continuity and mitigation of losses.