COVID Contractual Obligations: What You Need to Know
The COVID-19 pandemic has affected virtually every aspect of our lives, from the way we work to the way we socialize. With business closures and travel restrictions, many companies are facing challenges related to their contractual obligations. Whether you`re a business owner or a consumer, it`s important to understand your rights and responsibilities in this new landscape.
Force Majeure Clauses
The first thing to consider when evaluating your contractual obligations in the context of COVID-19 is whether your contract contains a “force majeure” clause. This is a clause that excuses performance under certain circumstances beyond the parties` control, such as a pandemic or natural disaster.
If your contract contains a force majeure clause, the specific language of the clause will be critical in determining whether you are excused from performance. Look for terms like “pandemic” or “epidemic,” as well as language that addresses government orders or closures.
If your contract does not contain a force majeure clause, you may still have options. The common law doctrine of “frustration of purpose” may come into play if the pandemic has made performance of the contract impossible or fundamentally different from what was originally contemplated by the parties.
Communication is Key
No matter what your contractual situation, communication with the other party is essential during these unprecedented times. If you are unable to perform your contractual obligations, be sure to promptly notify the other party and explain your position. If you are a business owner, consider offering alternative solutions or options for fulfilling your obligations.
At the same time, if you are a consumer facing non-performance by a business, be sure to communicate your expectations and concerns clearly. Keep in mind that businesses may be struggling to navigate this uncertain landscape, and a reasonable and cooperative attitude can go a long way toward resolving disputes.
COVID-19 has brought a host of new challenges to the world of contractual obligations. Whether you`re a business owner or a consumer, understanding your options and responsibilities is critical. If you`re unsure about the terms of your contract or whether you are obligated to perform, consult with an attorney or other legal professional with experience in this area.