Some of you have asked for guidance on what to do regarding open houses and showings for this weekend and during the current Coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak.
Governor Gavin Newsom announced that the California Department of Public Health issued an updated policy on gatherings to protect public health and slow the spread of COVID-19. The State’s public health experts have determined that gatherings should be postponed or canceled across the state until at least the end of March. Non-essential gatherings must be limited to no more than 250 people, while smaller events can proceed only if the organizers can implement "social distancing" of 6 feet per person. Gatherings of individuals who are at a higher risk for severe illness from COVID-19 should be limited to no more than 10 people, while also following "social distancing" guidelines.
If you look at these guidelines and apply them to open houses, you might consider alternatives to the traditional public open house. Some agents have decided to hold opens by appointment only. Others have said they will only be allowing one set of visitors enter the property at a time. Some agents have suggested that they are going to put on lockboxes for now and let agents show independently. Many agents have said that after speaking with their sellers they have decided to hold off for this weekend and assess the situation next week. All of these are good suggestions that should be considered. To try to minimize the risk of spreading the infection we suggest you look at alternatives to holding properties open.
As the National Association of REALTORS® hasstated:
"Speak openly and honestly with your seller about the pros and cons of holding an open house. You could also propose alternative marketing opportunities for your seller’s consideration, such as video tours and other methods to virtually tour a property. If you do hold an open house, consider requiring all visitors to disinfect their hands upon entering the home, and provide alcohol-based hand sanitizers, disposable towels and trash receptacles at the entryway, as well as soap and disposable towels in bathrooms. If you decide to do any cleaning at your client’s home, be sure to check with your client in advance about any products you plan to use. After the open house, recommend that your client clean and disinfect their home, especially commonly touched areas like doorknobs and faucet handles."
The situation changes by the day and we will continue to monitor national, state and local guidelines and present them to you as necessary.