PAR’s Legal Hotline has started to receive calls from members who have either tested positive for COVID-19 themselves or have a client who has tested positive.
Hopefully, parties have been completing the Health and Safety Acknowledgement (Form COVID-HSA) and agents have been keeping track of who they are meeting with and where. Using the forms is a great start, but it is just a small step in what should be a more comprehensive plan. Failing to properly handle a case of potential exposure not only puts many other people at risk of infection but could jeopardize your career.
In a green-phase county, the Governor’s Guidance for Businesses requires “a plan in case the business is exposed to a probable or confirmed case of COVID-19.” That plan must include a method of identifying employees who were in close contact with a person with a probable or confirmed case of COVID-19 and notification procedures for people with whom they may have been in contact. NAR has provided a sample plan addressing different circumstances with practical steps your brokerage can take to notify individuals who may have been exposed.
And speaking of plans, Pennsylvania has issued a travel advisory which may affect the summer plans you or your clients have. The state recommends that people quarantine themselves for 14 days if they visit any of the following states: Alabama, Arizona, Arkansas, California, Florida, Georgia, Idaho, Iowa, Kansas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Nevada, North Carolina, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas or Utah. (Editor’s Note: Wyoming and Missouri were added to the list later today, July 24.) Because travel restrictions have been issued for other states and not just other countries, and issued by other states and not just the Centers for Disease Control, the Form COVID-HSA has been updated to ask whether the signer or anyone in their household has traveled to any domestic location subject to a federal or state travel advisory. If your client does not want to self-quarantine for the recommended amount of time, anyone else who may be effected should be made aware. Using the updated form can provide that information to others, helping you avoid problems from the start of the transaction, and gives you a written record of what the parties knew and when they knew it.