OMB, GSA, & the VA Issue Guidance on Government Contracts Amid COVID-19

Explore key guidelines issued by OMB, GSA, and VA on handling government contracts during COVID-19, including telework, emergency procurement, and contract extensions.


As the world grappled with the COVID-19 pandemic, key government bodies including the Office of Management and Budget (OMB), General Services Administration (GSA), and the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) rolled out various memorandums and guidelines. These were specifically developed to confront the unique obstacles arising in the arena of government contracting. In this article, we take a closer look at the details and instructions provided through these critical documents.

OMB Memorandum: Federal Contracts and COVID-19

On March 20, 2020, the OMB circulated a significant memorandum with respect to federal contracts amidst the ongoing health crisis. Here are the key highlights:

  1. Agencies were urged to facilitate telework for contractor employees to the greatest extent possible.
  2. Agencies were granted flexibility in extending contract performance dates due to COVID-19 complications.
  3. There was emphasis on the use of special emergency procurement authorities during the national emergency.
  4. The focus was on the utilization of category management resources for addressing COVID-19 response needs.
  5. An exceptional 60-day extension was sanctioned for all active SAM registrations scheduled to expire before May 17, 2020.
  6. Agencies were encouraged to incorporate “COVID-19” or “Coronavirus” in relevant solicitation documents for ease of identification.

Please find the memo [here](OMB M-20-18).

GSA Memorandum: Contracting Activities

This memorandum was issued by Jeffrey Koses, the Senior Procurement Executive in the Office of Acquisition Policy, and it aligns with the directives issued by the OMB. It particularly emphasizes the GSA Schedule as a critical tool for Disaster Relief and Emergency Preparedness purchases. Access the memo [here](GSA Memo).

VA Memorandum: State & Local Ordering During COVID-19 National Emergency

Daniel Shearer, Director of the VA Federal Supply Schedules, played a pivotal role in issuing this memorandum. It concentrates on the following aspects:

  • Under President’s national emergency declaration, state and local governments have full freedom to order against Federal Supply Schedules, including VA Schedules.
  • The memorandum provides substantial guidance on adeptly handling state and local government purchases via VA Schedule Contracts.

You can find more information on state and local government utilization of GSA and VA Schedule Contracts for disaster purchasing [here](Additional Resources).


The guidelines offered through these critical memos were crucial to maintaining a seamless continuity of government contracting operations. They played a pivotal role in ensuring the health and safety of federal contractors and the public during the unparalleled COVID-19 crisis. Led by a former GSA Schedule Reviewer, our team provides excellent GSA Schedule Consulting services to help you navigate these complexities.

The ever-changing landscape of government contracting requires constant monitoring and adjustments. With this guidance, contractors can confidently move forward, knowing they are aligning their practices with current policy and promoting the overall health and safety of their teams and the wider community.

Whether you need guidance on current regulations or assistance with future contract modifications, we are here to help you navigate through these challenging times. Stay safe, stay informed, and together, we will come out on the other side stronger than before.

Pedro has extensive background as a Contracting Officer and Contract Specialist, has worked across seven federal agencies, managing contracts totaling over $1 billion in the professional and tech sectors. His notable tenure includes serving with the DoD/DARPA during the inception of their robotics program. Additionally, he played a pivotal role in initiating the Cyber Special Item Number (SIN) within the GSA's IT Schedule 70 as a Team Lead. After graduating from Harvard, he started Blackfyre to help you win your next contract.

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