Our collective national effort to mitigate the COVID-19 pandemic has caused a deep contraction in vast areas of our economy, with many workers and businesses facing profound challenges.
There is broad support for this national, full-mitigation response to COVID-19, but also broad recognition that our strategy must evolve to effectively address the health risks of COVID-19 while fostering a meaningful, responsible increase in economic activity.
Executing such a strategy will require constant coordination among workers, consumers, businesses, governmental authorities and investors, both broadly and at the individual and firm-specific level.
There now appears to be an emerging consensus that, as we develop more tools to fight COVID-19—increased testing, enhanced monitoring, data analysis, and identification of effective therapeutics—we can, anchored by advice of healthcare specialists, incrementally foster economic activity.
Company disclosures should reflect this state of affairs and outlook and, in particular, respond to investor interest in: (1) where the company stands today, operationally and financially, (2) how the company’s COVID-19 response, including its efforts to protect the health and well-being of its workforce and its customers, is progressing, and (3) how its operations and financial condition may change as all our efforts to fight COVID-19 progress. Historical information may be relatively less significant.
Providing detailed information regarding future operating conditions and resource needs is challenging, including because our response strategies are in their incipient stages (and are likely to change), but it is important on many levels. Updating and refining these estimates should become less difficult over time.
High quality disclosure will not only provide benefits to investors and companies, it also will enhance valuable communication and coordination across our economy—including between the public and private sectors—as together we pursue the fight against COVID-19.
This transparency can foster confidence in countless specific instances, for example, between a supplier and a manufacturer as well as between an investor and a company, which in combination will benefit all.
We encourage companies that respond to our call for forward-looking disclosure to avail themselves of the safe-harbors for such statements and also note that we would not expect good faith attempts to provide appropriately framed forward-looking information to be second guessed by the SEC.