OMB, GSA, & the VA Issue Guidance on Government Contracts Amid COVID-19
OMB Memo on Federal Contracts & COVID-19
On Friday, March 20, 2020, the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) issued memorandum (memo) M-20-18 to the heads of executive departments and agencies regarding the handling of government contracts during the COVID-19 pandemic.
The OMB memorandum begins with the recognition that “federal contractors play a vital role in helping agencies meet the needs of our citizens, including the critical response efforts to COVID-19.” It goes on to provide direction on how agencies can continue contract performance where possible, while meeting the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and local health authorities’ guidelines, intended to maintain the health and safety of federal contractors and the public.
The memo includes an attachment with frequently asked questions (FAQ) on the following topics:
- Mitigating the Impact of COVID-19 on Contractors
- Procurement Flexibilities
- Tracking Activities
OMB Memo on Federal Contracts – the Highlights
The seven page memo with the FAQ attachment is worth reading in full. However, below are a few high-level notes:
- Agencies are encouraged to maximize telework for contractor employees wherever possible.
- Agencies should be flexible with extending contract performance dates for COVID-19 related reasons.
- Agencies can leverage special emergency procurement authorities during this national emergency. This includes an increase in the micro-purchase threshold, simplified acquisition threshold, and threshold for use of simplified acquisition procedures.
- Agencies can utilize category management resources to find existing contract solutions to meet COVID-19 response needs.
- Active System for Award Management (SAM) registrations that expire before May 17, 2020 will receive a one-time 60-day extension.
- Agencies are encouraged to use “COVID-19” or “Coronavirus” in solicitation documents to help identify opportunities.
GSA Memo on GSA Contracting Activities
Jeffrey Koses, Senior Procurement Executive within the Office of Acquisition Policy issued a memo early this month that covered a number of points reiterated in the OMB memo. The GSA memo also pointed out the GSA Schedule is an existing contract vehicle agencies can utilize for Disaster Relief and Emergency Preparedness related purchases.
VA Memo on State & Local Ordering During COVID-19 National Emergency
Last week, the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) issued a notice to VA Federal Supply Schedule contractors regarding state and local government ordering procedures during the COVID-19 pandemic. Daniel Shearer, Director of the VA Federal Supply Schedules, clarified that the President’s national emergency declaration under the Stafford Act provides state and local governments with “full access to order against Federal Supply Schedules, including VA Schedules”. The notice went on provide companies guidance on how to handle state and local government purchases through their VA Schedule Contracts.
You can also view additional government acquisition memos and resources related to COVID-19 at https://www.acquisition.gov/coronavirus.