Gov In The Time Of Coronavirus

Susand Dudley

The novel coronavirus is still wreaking havoc on the health and welfare of the nation. And while the gears of the economy may have ground to a halt, government regulators have not. Federal agencies are busy issuing new regulations, many of them intended to address coronavirus concerns. They are also waiving existing requirements, either because they could impede responses to the crisis or because social distancing makes compliance challenging.

The pandemic isn’t the only driver of regulatory activity, though. The upcoming presidential election provides incentives for agencies to move a whole range of unrelated regulatory initiatives to completion.

Regulatory Response to COVID-19

The pace of regulatory activity appears to be continuing unabated during the pandemic, though agencies are proposing fewer new rules than they were at the end of last year. Not surprisingly, they are publishing more interim final regulations—which take effect before the opportunity for public comment—to address emergency pandemic-related issues. The graph below shows the number of significant proposed (NPRM), interim final (IFR) and final (FR) rules completed by month.

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