Countrywide has refuted claims that none of its branches have so far re-opened for business but has issued an explanation why there is a “phased” return to operations.
Yesterday there were claims in some parts of the trade press that Countrywide had not opened any of its branches. “This isn’t the case” Estate Agent Today was told by the company yesterday morning.
However, the company has since issued a statement emphasising a softly-softly approach. It says: “We welcomed the UK government’s announcement regarding the reopening of the housing market. Our priority has been, and will remain, to keep our people safe and protect our customers.
“Our branches and offices have begun to open in an orderly, safe way and we are following government guidelines to ensure they are ‘Covid-secure’. Each and every branch and office must be assessed, modifications made and a risk assessment approved prior to opening.
“The group’s priority is to reopen safely and whilst we have begun to open our branches and offices we will only do so once modifications are made and risk assessment and certification processes are completed.”
Broadly speaking, independent and small-chain agencies were quick off the mark to re-open after the government gave the go-ahead for buyers and agents to travel to physical viewings, which were to be conducted in accordance with strict social distancing and other health measures. Some corporates have been slower to react.