Do the governing bodies have any special duties and responsibilities within the context of COVID-19 events?

Companies’ governing bodies are subject to special duties of care in the management of the risks inherent to the COVID-19 threat.

Companies whose activities are to be maintained have the obligation to create the necessary biosafety conditions for the protection of people that are providing services. Therefore, these companies should prepare and implement contingency plans geared at continuing their business and the safety of their employees, shareholders, customers, suppliers and other stakeholders.

Whenever possible, companies should create taskforces to monitor, on the one hand, the evolution of contagion and contention of the COVID-19 in close liaison with the health and local authorities and, on the other hand, the economic, financial and commercial impacts that materialize or that could foreseeably impact their business or that of third parties, adjusting their commercial strategies in order to minimize and overcome any issues that may arise.

It is particularly important that such plans be communicated on time to all structures of the companies, implemented, monitored and reviewed, if required. It is equally important that the process of setting up and approving such plans by the company’s decision-making bodies is guided by rational business criteria and duly documented. Members of the governing bodies may be held liable for the absence of such plans or losses arising from the failure to communicate them on time.

 

Where any measures approved with a view to ease the daily activities of companies?

Yes. As part of the legislative package adopted along with the decree that extended the duration of the state of emergency, a number of measures were adopted to remove the burden of red tape on businesses, of which we would like to highlight the following:

  • Companies are no longer required to seek their registration for statistical purposes;
  • Operations permits are now only required for activities related to the trade of foodstuff, animal and vegetable species, poultry, medicines, sale of motor vehicles, fuels, lubricants and chemicals. Companies engaged in other activities are only required to seek an authorization from the Municipal Administration to open their premises.

 

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This information is being updated on a regular basis.

The information provided and the opinions expressed herein have been prepared with the help of VdA Legal Partners and are of a general nature. They are not in lieu of appropriate legal advice in connection with specific cases.