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Please note that this article (17/3/2020) contains new information following our previous communications (issued on March 13, 12 & 9) about the coronavirus situation, after discussions with the Programme’s Audit Authority.

Due to the coronavirus situation, all JS staff are now working away from the office, therefore the best way to make contact is via e-mail/mobile phone. Thank you for your understanding.

We have received a number of enquiries from partners in the light of COVID-19 regarding attendance at meetings or the organisation of events as part of your project. In response to this, please see our recommendations:

1)      Assess the situation based on the recommendation from the World Health Organisation, European Commission, embassies, national health organisations and partner organisations.  

2)      Cancel meetings or avoid travelling if one or more of the following cases occur:

  • There is an official travel ban or travel warning / restriction for the region where the event/meeting takes place and/or where your participants are coming from
  • Your organisation has a formal written policy that restricts travels and/or attendance to meetings
  • For other justified medical conditions (e.g. personal medical certificate recommending a restriction of travelling).  
  • Currently the public health advice in France is to delay travel abroad and therefore we will agree to the eligibility of non-refundable expenditure incurred for travels or meetings that have been cancelled, provided the link to the coronavirus outbreak is evidenced.
  • For same Country travel, a cancellation as a result of Force Majeure is acceptable as long as any claim is supported by an explanation, either of specific health risks to the individual or a corporate position on travel or home working. 
  • Cancellation of domestic travel in France will fall under the case of Force Majeure from 13/3/2020.
  • Cancellation of domestic travel in the UK will fall under the case of Force Majeure from today onwards (17/3/2020).

3)      Apply preventive measures as suggested by the WHO and similar organisations and discuss them with the venue (eg to make hand sanitisers available at meeting rooms and to carry out a careful daily alcohol-based disinfection).  

4)      Consider buying flexible tickets / contract suppliers with flexible conditions (eg for venues, hotels, etc), provided this is in line with your organisation’s internal rules 

Should the event have to be cancelled, postponed or if partners/stakeholders could not attend for the reasons as mentioned above, we recommend that you:

  • Consider with those involved whether a videoconference is a suitable alternative, to minimise the impact on the workplan
  • Seek reimbursement for eligible costs (eg for venue, catering, travel tickets) within the rules of the Programme and of your organisation

For any ineligible costs: the view of the Joint Secretariat is that in the case of any circumstance listed under point 2, ineligible costs should be deemed as eligible, provided that the necessary documentation is submitted, alongside the justification, which should also be demonstrated (for example by screenshots of guidance about coronavirus from the authorities/organisation).

If you have further questions, please get in touch with your contact at the JS.