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It always comes down to the contract - if it specifies pandemics as a Force Majeure inclusion it is easier than if it didn't. There also needs to be some evidence that the contractor is unable to fulfill their obligations directly as a result of the pandemic or accompanying restrictions brought about by the local authorities.
With projects where physical constraints require work from locations which have been impacted by restrictions, this may be easier to prove, but knowledge work or project with intangible deliverables may not be covered.
Not at all. We lived Flu-A and others things before. The problem is the same from lot time ago: the lessons learned are the least learned lessons
It depends on the nature of the project. If it includes displacements or other conditions that violate the quarantine, the most probable is that the project be suspended, otherwise, if it's office work, such as Programmation, design, or any other kind of activity that can be developed without leaving a building, the project may continue, coordinating the remote work of the team. Other aclaration is that projects that are suspended can be reinitiated later, once we have overcome the pandemic.
This COVID-19 is just another external dependency in your contract/project. Typical contracts keep contingencies to address these kind of factors. In my opinion there is nothing more needed from a contract perspective.
Unless the contract specifically addresses the issue (not likely), the pandemic in itself may not constitute Force Majeure but if the government declares certain activities required to perform the contracted services illegal because of the pandemic, which could not have anticipated by the contractor, then Force Majeure could apply.
The second point relates to what the contract allows as remedy for Force Majeure, typically it allows for lost time thus extending contract completion but does not provide for compensation.
As and example, with construction work (physical deliverable) if the law prohibits you from carrying out the work for three months then there would be a three month extension to contract completion. However if there is no such law and the contractor chooses to shut down some or all the work then Force Majeure most likely would not apply.
In the absence of a law, if the owner directs the contractor to stop work then the owner is in breach of contract for not providing reasonable access to the site.
The government did't say per se its illegal, but you can't have your resources under your control.
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