A panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit has asked the Oregon Supreme Court to interpret the phrase “direct physical loss or damage” in the context of a COVID-19 commercial property insurance policy dispute.

Chief Judge Mary H. Murguia authored the April 10 order, in which a panel of circuit judges sought an answer to the question: “Can the actual or potential presence of the COVID-19 virus on an insured’s premises constitute ‘direct physical loss or damage to property’ for purposes of coverage under a commercial property insurance policy?”