- Many countries have taken various health and safety measures to address the rising number of COVID-19 cases and the new COVID-19 variants.
- Governments continue to support workers and employers affected by the economic instability caused by the pandemic.
- Rollout of COVID-19 vaccines and investments in critical infrastructure are the key issues in government contracts.
- Some governments continue to restrict exports of personal protective equipment and to subject foreign investments to increased scrutiny.
Since April 2020, we have collaborated with foreign law firm partners to monitor and report on the most relevant government measures worldwide addressing the COVID-19 pandemic. The newest version of the guide includes a concise, corporate-focused and user-friendly list of government measures and covers areas like tax, restructuring, business immigration, government contracts and international trade:
This month’s update includes new information as of early January 2021 for Australia, Belgium, Canada, Chile, China, Costa Rica, Czech Republic, El Salvador, European Union, Germany, Guatemala, Honduras, Hungary, India, Indonesia, Israel, Italy, Japan, Mexico, Netherlands, Panama, Philippines, Poland, Republic of Korea, Russia, South Africa, Spain, Thailand, Turkey, United Kingdom, United States and Vietnam.
Many countries continue to reintroduce health and safety measures previously implemented in March 2020, and later relaxed, to restrict public gatherings or movement of persons to address the rising number of COVID-19 cases. In Europe, some country-wide lockdowns were put in place. Other countries continue to keep social distancing requirements in place and have introduced new regional curfews or lockdown requirements based on the numbers of infections within local populations. In the United States, states and counties continue to differ in their approaches to both business closures/reopenings and face mask requirements. In Asia and the Americas, the general trend indicates that countries have adopted a risk-based system to identify high-risk populations and to restrict their activities accordingly. In Asia, international travel restrictions have been eased in some countries, with a focus on workers. That said, following the discovery of new COVID-19 variants, some countries introduced travel bans from countries with the presence of the new variants.
Most governments continue to support workers and employers affected by the economic instability caused by the pandemic. Most have taken various measures, including tax deferrals or exemptions and loan facilities, to address the difficulties endured by businesses affected by the pandemic-related economic instability. Measures include short-term compensation procedures, social security benefits or other regulations to ensure that workers receive personal protective equipment or do not face discrimination. In the United States, Congress enacted the Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2021 to provide additional benefits for businesses and extend some provisions of the original CARES Act.
As to government contracts, some governments issued measures to address COVID-19-related economic difficulties, including easing the termination of contracts for force majeure or introducing emergency procurement regimes to speed up the procurement process. Further, some governments have introduced measures to facilitate the rollout of COVID-19 vaccines. Additionally, there is increased attention on investment and regulations involving critical infrastructure in the Americas and Europe to support COVID-19 efforts.
In the area of international trade, some countries continue to restrict exports of certain personal protective equipment and have introduced new measures to subject foreign investments to increased scrutiny, especially investments linked to public health emergencies. Foreign investment in health care and related infrastructure continues to be regulated around the world.