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Some of State’s New COVID-19 Business Restrictions Apply to Real Estate

By: Hank Lerner, Esq. on in

On Thursday, December 10, Gov. Tom Wolf announced additional restrictions designed to help address the most recent increases in coronavirus cases. These rules will go into effect at 12:01 a.m. on Saturday, Dec. 12.

Though there are a number of new rules affecting business operations, the good news is that there are only a few items that look like they will directly affect real estate practice.

  • In-person businesses serving the public (including real estate brokerages, closing companies, etc.) may now only operate at a maximum of 50% of capacity (down from 75% of capacity).
  • Any indoor gatherings and events must be limited to 10 people or fewer. It’s unclear whether something like an open house or showing would technically qualify as an “event” in this context, but best practices already suggest limiting in-person activities to the absolute minimum number of people, which is likely to already be 10 or fewer.

But remember, this just means that there are few new rules to worry about. All of the orders put in place through November are still in effect, so the broader mitigation order and stay-at-home advisory are still applicable, as are the universal masking and travel orders.

Taking cues from the language of these orders, PAR urges that as you and your clients assess the next few weeks and months of activity, you do everything possible to limit your in-person activities to those activities that are truly “essential” and that are “impossible” to do effectively unless they’re done in person. And of course, you and your clients should always be doing your best to adhere to the existing orders as much as possible. In identifying businesses subject to stronger regulations, the governor is again leaning on data showing what businesses are contributing to more positive tests, so all Realtors® should be doing their part to keep real estate off of that data dashboard.

As always, additional detailed information – including a comprehensive FAQ and suggested best practices – can be found on PAR’s coronavirus resource page.

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