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The National Association of REALTORS® (NAR) recently announced that its REALTORS® Legislative Meetings & Trade Expo will be held virtually for the second straight year from May 3-14, 2021. Registration for the event will open on Feb. 24. While approximately 9,000 REALTORS® typically descend on Washington, D.C. for the conference every May, over 28,000 NAR members and real estate professionals participated in the first-ever virtual REALTORS® Legislative Meetings in 2020.

“After careful consideration, the REALTORS® Legislative Meetings & Trade Expo will be held virtually again this year,” NAR President Charlie Oppler, a REALTOR® from Franklin Lakes, N.J., and the CEO of Prominent Properties Sotheby’s International Realty, said in a video to NAR members on Friday afternoon. “Although this was a difficult decision—and one that we did not take lightly—our choice, in the end, was clear.”

Following the announcement in March 2020 to hold last year’s conference virtually, NAR acknowledged that the pandemic was likely to alter the way Americans live, work and travel in the years ahead, and pledged to pursue virtual or hybrid components to all major events moving forward. While NAR and staff leadership had hoped to again convene in person by May 2021, persistent spikes in COVID-19 cases led the association to conclude that it was not yet safe to conduct an event of this magnitude from one central location.

“One of NAR’s core values is to put members first, and with that the health and safety of America’s 1.4 million REALTORS® remains our top priority,” Oppler continued. “NAR leadership and staff had hoped we could gather in person for our 2021 Legislative Meetings, but after the success and record registration we witnessed last May, we are confident that more REALTORS® will be better served by holding this year’s conference virtually.”

In forming its final decision, NAR leadership concluded that lingering COVID-19 restrictions in Washington, D.C., would have made executing the in-person event safely nearly impossible. As cases continue to increase in the region and across much of the country, District Mayor Muriel Bowser recently reinstituted prohibitions on indoor gatherings of more than 10 people, while D.C. restaurants are still restricted from serving customers indoors.

Perhaps most importantly, with the U.S. Capitol closed to visitors indefinitely because of COVID-19 concerns, NAR members would be unable to meet in person with their elected officials after traveling into Washington from all corners of the country.

In a separate email, NAR announced its annual Conference & Expo will be held live this November, stating they are “working hard to ensure a safe and successful event for attendees and exhibitors.”

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