On Dec. 30, Gov. Tom Wolf announced that the limited-time mitigation order put in place on Dec. 12 will expire on Jan. 4, 2021, as scheduled.
This temporary order (effective Dec. 12, 2020 – Jan. 4, 2021), layered additional restrictions on to the existing business rules, including a limitation that any business location (including a real estate office) could operate at no more than 50% of listed capacity. The primary effect on your real estate business is that brokerage offices can return to operating at 75% of office capacity if they wish, and that occupancy limits for gatherings go back to the prior levels. Other lifted restrictions impact other businesses but would generally not affect your real estate practice.
The other temporary restriction currently set to expire on Jan. 4, 2021 is the state-at-home advisory (effective Nov. 23, 2020 – Jan. 4, 2021). This “strongly advised” only leaving home for essential purposes, and only allowing non-household members into a home to provide for essential services to the household, but was not a mandatory order. As of publication, this advisory has not been extended, but the governor’s office has also not explicitly stated that it will be allowed to expire. PAR will continue to monitor the advisory status and will inform members if anything changes.
As was the case both during and before the advisory, PAR’s suggested best practices continue to recommend discussion with sellers to determine their comfort level with property access, to utilize relevant health screening tactics and to minimize in-person activities at a property as much as you can. Homeowners can certainly restrict property access to whatever level they’re comfortable with, whether the advisory is in place or not.
Keep in mind that though these two items are set to expire on Jan. 4, other restrictions still remain in place. Most notably, the general mitigation and enforcement order (effective Nov. 27) still requires remote work “unless impossible” and requires a number of additional on-site protocols for employees and customers. And the state travel restrictions still require that most out-of-state residents either provide proof of a negative test or quarantine (now for 10 days) upon their arrival.
As always, PAR is continuing to follow all these issues on our COVID-19 Updates page and will provide updates as information changes.