UACES Facebook You Are Not Alone - Suggestions for Contractors in the Wake of the COVID-19 Pandemic
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You Are Not Alone! Suggestions For Contractors In The Wake Of The COVID-19 Pandemic

by Melanie Berman - April 2, 2020

We are living through an unprecedented time never before seen during our lifetime. As our government responds to the COVID-19 pandemic, many of the standard operating procedures and regulations followed by contracting personnel have been altered to provide for quicker procurements of critically needed supplies and services.

While some contractors will thrive in this environment, others will struggle. Here are some common-sense guidelines and suggestions to help you ease the pain and take advantage of new opportunities that may present themselves.

  1. Stay Informed: Information is being disseminated daily to guide the contracting community. Get connected and stay current with the latest. Here are a few helpful resources.
    1. Ensure that you read and follow the guidance in the “APEX Accelerator News You Can Use” and “Recommended Readings” sections of our newsletter.
    2. The blog is providing frequent updates to contractors related to COVID-19. Click here to read their articles and make sure to bookmark the blog, or better yet sign up for updates.
    3. If you missed Govology’s free webinar titled “COVID-19 Considerations For Federal Contractors,” click here to enroll and watch it on-demand.
  2. Keep in touch: Communication is vital! As you get informed, reach out to anyone and everyone involved with your government contracts to keep them informed. Here are a few specific recommendations.
    1. If you have existing government contracts, it is essential that you stay in touch with your Contracting Officer and Contracting Officer’s Technical Representatives for specific guidance and direction not covered in your contract. If you have difficulties contacting your Contracting Officer, check with your APEX Accelerator counselor for recommendations and suggestions. Remember that your Contracting Officer is the only person who can authorize contract modifications and change orders, or process requests for equitable adjustments.
    2. If you are a subcontractor to a prime, ensure you are seeking guidance from your point of contact working for the prime. If you are not getting paid under a contract for which you’ve provided services, and have exhausted your options for getting paid, you may consider reaching out directly to the Contracting Officer, though they may or may not be able to assist you. If that doesn’t help, it may be time to reach out to your attorney. Your local APEX Accelerator does not provide legal advice or legal services.
    3. If you are a prime, ensure that you are communicating with your subcontractors. You may also need to negotiate terms related to certain contracts if you received a “stop-work order” or “termination for convenience.”
  3. Reach-in: If you have supplies and services that are in critical demand during this time, implement a "reach-in" campaign by directly contacting agency personnel. Some of these critical goods and services may not be procured through the normal solicitation channels as emergency procurements may limit or eliminate many (not all) of the publicizing and competition requirements.

    According to the OMB memo (linked in the recommended readings section), "the flexibilities identified in FAR§ 18.202, "Defense or recovery from certain events," are available for use in supporting response efforts to COVID-19. These flexibilities include increases to the micro-purchase threshold, the simplified acquisition threshold, and the threshold for using simplified procedures for certain commercial items.

    Specifically - (1) The micro-purchase threshold is raised from $10,000 to $20,000 for domestic purchases and to $30,000 for purchases outside the U.S.; (2) The simplified acquisition threshold is raised from $250,000 to $750,000 for domestic purchases and $1.5 million for purchases outside the U.S.; and (3) Agencies may use simplified acquisition procedures up to $13 million for purchases of commercial item buys."