• Chartwell Retirement Residences (TSX:CHU.UN) is concerned that the COVID-19 pandemic is potentially deadly to its high-risk occupants
  • The company is currently barring non-essential visitors to its aged-care facilities and screening all staff and visitors upon entry
  • Earlier this month, Chartwell suspended its dividend reinvestment plan to help fund infection control measures
  • The company is negotiating with government authorities to further fund the measures throughout the coming months
  • Chartwell Retirement Residences (CSH.UN) is down 13.67 per cent, with shares trading at $6.76 and a market cap of $1.49 billion

Chartwell Retirement Residences (TSX:CHU-UN) is bracing for COVID-19’s potentially devastating impact on its clientele.

As Canada’s largest aged-care provider, Chartwell is concerned that the pandemic is potentially deadly to its high-risk occupants.

In a statement released today, CEO of Chartwell, Vlad Volodarski, outline the company’s plans to mitigate the virus’s impact on its residents.

Vlad was quick point out that infection control and protocols are already a part of the company’s operations, as the annual flu season presents a significant danger. Last year the company succeeded in reducing the number of flu outbreaks in 2020, when compared with the previous year.

To further combat outbreaks, the company is ramping up infection control measures. Residences are restricted to essential visitors only. All essential visitors and staff are also being actively screen before entering the aged-care facilities.

The company predicts these measures will negatively impact its occupancy rate, as new occupants will be barred from visiting the sites until the outbreak ceases.

Chartwell expects this dip in occupancy to recover quickly, once those waiting to transfer are able to do so.

The Ontario government recently announced a financial plan to support retirement homes throughout the crisis. Chartwell is currently in talk with the government and hopes these funds will offset the additional costs of protecting its residents.

It has been a difficult month for the company. When Chartwell announced it was suspending its dividend reinvestment plan to help fund COVID-19 mitigations, the company’s share price began to fall dramatically.

Since then Chartwell’s share price has fallen by more than half. At the time Vlad Volodarski outlined the company’s motivations.

“Our priority is the safety and well-being of our residents, their families and our staff.

“Chartwell’s people across the country are fully committed to this priority and are doing extraordinary work to support our residents and their loved ones in the evolving COVID-19 pandemic environment,” he said.

Chartwell Retirement Residences (CSH.UN) is down 13.67 per cent, with shares trading for $6.76 at 3:56pm EST. 

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