On Monday, March 16, the Federal Council decided to take extraordinary measures in order to protect the Swiss people from the current COVID-19 pandemic, which concerns ALL of us. The social role of the SPG-Rytz group is an integral part of its company culture and is demonstrated in various areas: health and safety, training, sports and leisure, culture and solidarity. Because we at the SPG-Rytz group are acutely aware of the active role we can play during this particular period, we have implemented various actions aimed at assisting our janitorial staff and tenants, as well as the most vulnerable populations.
As a real estate agency, we manage more than 660 properties in Geneva and employ a janitorial staff of approximately 424. Their safety is one of our top priorities, as we consider them to be valuable contributors to our social bonds. For this reason, we are currently providing them with disinfectant materials to enable them to continue performing their work under the most favourable conditions possible and to ensure the safety of our tenants in the buildings’ common areas. We have sent a memorandum to all of our properties, encouraging and promoting neighbourhood mutual aid. We invite every resident to demonstrate solidarity and support by providing assistance to senior citizens and other vulnerable populations, while remaining vigilant and taking every appropriate precaution. Our Management Department personnel, with the aid of building services, are listing and contacting at-risk persons residing in the buildings we manage in order to offer them assistance in the event that it should become necessary.
In this regard, ProSenectute – a Swiss association that provides specialised services for the elderly – recommends implementing various actions to help support our seniors during these difficult times, including organising telephone chains and posting notices in building lobbies to offer services. Consequently, we encourage anyone who wishes to participate in these solidarity efforts to learn more by visiting the ProSenectute website. Additionally, please feel free to post your own personalised notices offering your services to your neighbours. Below, we give several examples of worthwhile actions.
Another solidarity tool, the Five up application, launched in 2019, aims to simplify management and networking in voluntary commitments. It allows people to offer their services, for example, to do someone’s grocery shopping or to take care of someone’s pet. The Swiss Red Cross and the Swiss Public Welfare Society (SSUP) are two of the company’s most important partners. Feel free to download the application and offer your services!
Swiss Solidarity has opened an account and is currently accepting donations to help those who are suffering severe economic hardship as a result of the pandemic. The funds that are collected will be used to finance immediate relief and social assistance whenever State-provided aid is not sufficient. The goal of this fundraising effort is to provide immediate relief to senior citizens and persons with disabilities who are sick, live in isolation and depend on outside aid. Other groups that benefit from assistance include victims of domestic violence, the homeless, those who are in some type of shelter situation (migrants, foster children, those who are ill) and the individuals and families who have been seriously affected by the economic, social and health-related consequences of the pandemic.
With the help of our Logistics Department, we have also implemented actions to assist companies, particularly restaurants that were forced to close their doors last Monday, leaving them with large inventories of unused food products. Consequently, we have decided to purchase their remaining inventory and distribute it to organisations that serve the homeless, such as Carrefour-Rue & Coulou. Our personnel are also participating in this effort by donating basic necessities, particularly food and hygiene products.
As a result of this unprecedented health crisis, Swiss hospitals are beginning to run low on blood. In fact, donations have fallen by 50 percent. If you are in good health, please feel free to contact your nearest hospital to donate blood. Healthcare establishments assure us that COVID-19 is transmitted through tiny droplets that are expelled through the nose or mouth when an infected person sneezes or coughs. The virus is not transmitted through the blood.
Solidarity remains our most important resource, especially under extraordinary circumstances like these. We invite you to get involved in our common effort. Stay in contact with your loved ones, check on the welfare of your neighbours and support our most vulnerable populations!
It is when each us waits for the other one to start that nothing happens.
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