We need respiratory face masks for our business operations in the UK and France. Can the UK or French Governments requisition them?

March 24, 2020

Key Takeaways

  • With protective face masks becoming a scarce resource during the COVID-19 pandemic and authorities stepping up public requisitions and export controls on these products, businesses who require this equipment for global manufacturing operations may have concerns about supply reliability over the coming months.
  • While there is no current indication a public requisition is likely to be launched in the UK, similar to the one implemented in France, existing emergency powers legislation could enable confiscation measures to be taken swiftly.
  • France has imposed requisition of face masks until 31 May 2020, to allocate them with priority to healthcare professionals and positively-diagnosed patients.
  • Further, a new EU regulation, which is directly effective in the UK, has made all exports of face masks subject to government license, which may limit the ability of businesses to effectively reallocate supply.
  • This position is as at 24 March 2020 and is subject to change as governmental positions in relation to the pandemic develop.