With Covid-19 now having been declared a pandemic by the World Health Organisation (WHO) and the number of infections in SA continuing to rise, the Chas Everitt International property group has decided to postpone its National Leadership Conference and Gala Awards events which were due to be held next week.
It is the first SA real estate company to halt a major event in response to the Covid-19 threat and has also asked all its franchisees, sales agents and staff to refrain from all non-essential international and domestic air travel for the time being, and to convert scheduled meetings into electronic interactions whenever possible.
“The decision to postpone was not an easy one to make,” says CEO Berry Everitt, “especially as we are also celebrating our 40th anniversary this year and were looking forward to welcoming many international as well as local guests to our conference.
“However, as a caring company founded on family values, we know that our primary responsibility at this time is to do anything we possibly can to lower the risk of the virus spreading into and through all the communities we serve around the country.
“We felt we simply could not take the chance of someone becoming infected at our event and then passing the virus on to their family, friends, colleagues or clients.
“And while we place the highest value on networking, relationships and face-to-face communications, we had to consider the risk factors for delegates and guests that are beyond our control on public transport and in public venues and accommodation establishments.”
In taking the decision to postpone, he says, the group took its lead from the WHO, which has noted that one in five people who are infected with the Covid-19 virus has to be hospitalized with serious and possibly life-threatening symptoms, and suggested that wherever possible, organisers should suspend public meetings and mass gatherings for now.
“Many major corporates and large real estate companies in Europe and the US have taken similar steps already, and we believe that other property groups in SA should and will follow our example to help contain the effects of the Covid-19 virus on our communities, our industry and our economy.”