Our industry has faced many challenges over the years, but 2020 will be one for the record books. While writing this article I keep thinking of the families that are suﬀering because of illness, death of a loved one, or the loss of employment because of the COVID 19 virus and it makes me realize how truly fragile life is.
Recently, a friend asked me if I had a crystal ball last year, would I accept the GCAR president’s seat again this year? I can honestly say without thinking twice, that I would do it all over again. Having served on the GCAR board as a director for the past three years, when I was nominated for president, I knew everything was falling into place. The lawsuit was completed and behind us. The MLS now included members of the Southern Adirondack Association of REALTORS®, we were planning our 100th-year gala celebration, and plans were underway for the purchase of our new building. Everything was going smoothly and as planned. But on March 22, 2020 at approximately 8:00 PM that night everything changed. Governor Cuomo issued an Executive Order shutting down all non-essential businesses in the State of New York. As Realtors we were shocked to hear that real estate was included as a non-essential business. Instantly, our phones started ringing, emails, and texts from members were being received by the GCAR staﬀ and your board of directors. I thought to myself, “We’ve never dealt with a situation like this”. Within minutes after the Executive Order was released our CEO, Laura Burns called me and we discussed putting a plan of action into place.
As I write this article, we are approximately 4 weeks into the “Pause”. During this time the GCAR staﬀ and Board of Directors have been working tirelessly to keep you, the members informed and up to date on the daily changes to our industry and how we can conduct business.
As you know each day brings a new challenge. For example, one morning we were classified as essential and could go back to meeting with buyers and sellers in person. But, by nightfall on the same day we were still considered essential but could no longer meet in person with buyers and sellers.
This has been confusing and disheartening for everyone in the industry. We are continuing to submit requests for clarification on the current ESD order to the Governor’s office and also pushing forth for relaxing some of the restrictions on our industry. GCAR’s leadership feels your frustration to the utmost extent. We will continue to advocate and work in the best interest of the membership and our industry while keeping in mind that staying safe and healthy must remain first and foremost.
In closing, I would like to ask everyone to take a moment to remember the victims of COVID 19, our health care workers, first responders, transportation workers, and all essential personnel who are working tirelessly every day to keep us all safe.