The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) provides updates of its response to the novel Coronavirus (“COVID-19” or “Coronavirus”) on its website at https://www.sec.gov/sec-coronavirus-covid-19-response. To date, the SEC’s actions include, among others, the following:

  1. On February 19, 2020, the SEC issued a joint statement, Effects of the Coronavirus on Financial Reporting that:
    • Urged public companies to work with their audit committees and auditors to ensure that their financial reporting, auditing, and review processes meet the applicable requirements in light of their obligations and the unforeseen circumstances.
    • Emphasized the need to consider potential disclosure of subsequent events in the notes to the financial statements in accordance with guidance included in Accounting Standards Codification Topic 855, Subsequent Events.
    • Articulated the SEC’s general policy to grant appropriate relief from filing deadlines in situations where, in light of circumstances beyond the control of the company, filings cannot be completed on time with the appropriate level of review and attention.
  2. On March 4, 2020, the SEC issued a conditional exemptive order, Providing Conditional Relief and Assistance for Companies Affected by COVID-19, that provides qualifying public companies an additional 45 days to file certain disclosure reports that would otherwise have been due between March 1, 2020, and April 30, 2020. Among other conditions, a current report (e.g., Form 8-K) summarizing the need or reason for relief is required to be filed.