Dear CARW Members,
We have received many inquiries regarding the extension of the Safer at Home order and how we are responding. We have spoken with business leaders and organizations as well as members of the legislature and Governor’s administration to discuss the status of the Order and what it means for our Industry. We applaud the measures to thoughtfully consider and safely reopen business. First and foremost, the public health concern is real – and it will remain so for quite some time; yet we concurrently find ourselves facing significant economic decline. It remains our obligation to protect the vulnerable while providing for the best interests of our members and society – in both health and business. Many of you have expressed great frustration that clients will not be able to withstand an additional month of closure that will result in long-term financial harm. Undoubtedly, the Commercial Real Estate industry will play a profound role in reopening the economy and we want to ensure you that CARW is and will continue to lead discussions in the public arena.
At this time, the general public believes that we should continue to be safer at home – and the data simply isn’t present to institute a “full re-open” of the economy. The time to open will not only be when it is safe to do so, but when the public feels safe to go back to work, patronize restaurants and shop at stores. Our goal is to engage in two parallel conversations – one that recognizes the importance of fighting the virus; accessing tests and keeping vulnerable populations protected, while also providing a sense of urgency to help businesses operate in a world where social distancing guidelines are required.
Commercial Real Estate plays a key role in facilitating the safe return to work. Not only is commercial real estate about place, proximity and people but also about commerce and a global supply chain. Our professionals are on the front lines working with clients across all sectors: from retail to office to manufacturing to housing. Businesses are ahead of the curve in rethinking their workplace layout and security, exploring options for safety and examining logistics and planning. We possess enormous real time insights as to what is working and what is not. It is our responsibility to advise business and policy leaders on best practice solutions and timelines which consider the most important factors – the public’s confidence in their environment and their leader’s ability to execute on solutions that balance personal and economic health.
The harsh reality is that many businesses will not survive through May 26th or any extended period of time if they aren’t provided an appropriate framework to operate in an innovative manner. Small and large businesses stand ready to work with those making the laws and setting guidelines, on how to do this safely and in a way that gives employers a voice in considering their own risk profile and responsibilities. The state of Wisconsin is diverse in many senses and the operations of a business in Milwaukee are much different than the operations of a business in Barron: a one size fits all policy will endanger the survival of thousands of businesses and financially cripple many others. On April 17th, MMAC released a detailed plan to reopen southeast Wisconsin and today, the WMC put forth a plan for a Statewide reopening. We will continue to seek out opportunities to collaborate with these and other leading business organizations across the state to ensure we are all positioned to excel in the post COVID world.
It is an understatement to note that we all want to get back to work, but risks remain. Our commercial real estate leaders have engaged with clients, business organizations, State leaders and one another, to shape positions and be part of the solution. We owe it to you – and to our clients – to advocate and advise for the most sensible positions requiring both conversations about business and health. We continue to push for transparency, collaboration, communication and civility and invite your input to ensure that the complicated nature of this process is executed right. At this time, we are assembling a group of leaders in Real Estate who have interest in engaging in the dialogue about reopening businesses to discuss what we need to be considering for our clients, what information we need to be collecting, and what tools can be developed. We have tremendous resources through our members. Please reach out if you are interested in being involved in our ongoing discussions to share resources and refine communication around the issue on behalf of our Industry.