We trust you are taking good care of yourselves, your loved ones, and your businesses. We are doing the same with our ultimate focus on serving YOU. As we quickly make our adjustments to the rapidly developing circumstances, we would like to offer you a practical update of the current state of mobility from Bristol’s perspective.
Bristol remains strong, confident, connected, and committed to serving you without disruption. We rapidly transitioned the majority of our workforce to work-at-home status without missing a beat. Our associates are fully resourced, connected, supported and secure. We trust that you have found them to be as accessible, informed and knowledgeable as ever. Rest assured we will continue to be.
At the moment we are busy managing moves in process, accepting initiations and making preparations for those to come. Current moves are proceeding despite the wide variety of disruptions throughout the service chain caused by travel restrictions, port and border closings, shelter-in-place quarantines, curtailing of personal contacts due to social distancing measures, etc. This has and will continue to result in delays, postponements and rescheduling of various services. Further, we have seen a few corporate clients place employee transfers on-hold, particularly those that would involve a move to a new country/cross-border, until the current situation stabilizes. We believe this is prudent and aligns with our own advice in general.
We are in daily communication with our global supplier partner network, maintaining a constantly-updated location-specific compilation ranging from immigration restrictions to service disruptions in all sectors including (not limited to) HHG shipments, DSP, language and cultural services, realtors, etc. Should you have a question relating to a specific move, assignee, country or service, please contact your Account Director for the latest update and specific guidance.
In this update we would like to highlight several examples from just a few key service sectors:
Household Goods shipment and storage: Our network is moving admirably while taking steps to overcome the aforementioned delays with a primary focus on health and safety. Our partners including Transportation Worldwide (our thanks to them) are executing among other strategies “limited contact” household goods relocations, limiting physical interaction as much as possible between crew members and transferees. Specific protocols in place include:
- Virtual surveys for every move
- During moving day / packing and loading:
- No physical contact between the crew members and the transferee. No handshakes. Crew members coached to not stand closer than 6 feet from the transferee, etc.
- The transferee asked to completely separate items to be packed in one area of the home before the crew arrives in an effort to limit the traffic of the crew members throughout the home.
- The transferee will sign the packing inventory/documentation with their own writing instrument. Do not accept a pen/pencil from a crew member.
- During delivery: Delivery crew will only unpack, set up and reassemble key furniture items. Majority of the boxes packed with loose items will remain packed. Goal is to limit the amount of items crew will touch and handle during the delivery, e.g. glasses, dishware, personal items, etc. Discounts may be offered for partial delivery.
Further steps under consideration (subject to vetting of liability and practicality.):
- Taking the temperature of crew members before they leave the warehouse in the morning.
- Gloves and masks for crew members during packing and delivery.
- Post-delivery cleaning/wipe down of residence. Not a full maid service but cleaning the home after the crew completes the delivery.
Real Estate transactions: We are pleased to report that many home sales, purchases and closings are proceeding due to our own efforts and our strong working partnership with Old Republic Title whose innovative solutions include:
- eClosings:– electronic signatures which in many cases eliminates the need to be physically present at closing;
- Mobile Notary: While notaries are subject to the same social distancing procedures we are all following, the mobile option presents a viable solution where transferees may no longer be able to use notaries in their office or sustain a visit to a notary public office. We are using a number of resources to identify available notaries and are using overnight service where necessary.
Current challenges include third party staffing and remote work continuing to occasion delays in obtaining title and equity information such as mortgage and HOA statements. County and municipal government office closures may result in delayed or unavailable title and equity information, land record searches, acquisition of lien certificate, and mortgage payoff information. The unavailability of eRecording may pose challenges to recording documents and closing transactions. Old Republic is directly addressing the potential “gap” between closing and recording where the latter may be delayed. In many cases, the closing may proceed even if documents cannot be recorded immediately.
International: Immigration issues are at the fore, with daily developments spanning the entire globe and in constant flux. While we recommend consulting your chosen immigration partner for advice on specific situations (for those of you who have chosen to engage directly with an immigration specialist), we are pleased to provide for your ongoing reference a comprehensive, twice-daily updated list of international travel and immigration disruptions, with appreciation to our partner Newland Chase:
Direct link to their live country-by-country guide: https://blog.newlandchase.com/hubfs/CIBTvisas_Coronavirus_Global_Information%20SS%20UPDATES%2018%20MARCH%20PM.pdf?hsCtaTracking=1c377eda-b501-47b7-ac9d-cda41fdc960d%7C261d73aa-0565-4f85-94b5-e94191126093
Duty of Care: Regarding your current assignees, know that we have increased our degree of connection with them. If possible, we also recommend you stay in touch and be responsive to their concerns as well. You may want to be particularly sensitive to exception requests such as temporary living extensions, covering meals and lodging during travel delays etc. which may be regarded as inevitable in many cases and should be considered or granted in the spirit of necessity and flexibility. We encourage you to consult with Bristol for guidance on any such circumstance. We will track and report such exceptions which may be classified as temporary or extraordinary in nature during the present time.
There are obviously many more segments of the service spectrum, all of which are impacted in their own way. We have much more to tell you, and Bristol will continue to connect and communicate with you as the situation unfolds. In the meantime, please do not hesitate to contact your Bristol associate with any questions, concerns or just to share a friendly word and let us know how you’re doing.
Mobility industry specific updates from Worldwide ERC: https://www.worldwideerc.org/coronavirus
World Health Organization (WHO): https://www.who.int/
U.S. Centers for Disease Control (CDC): https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/prepare/index.html