General Guidance During COVID-19

What is Coronavirus?

COVID-19 is a novel coronavirus that has infected more than 1.2 million individuals in more than 200 countries and territories, causing the World Health Organization (WHO) to classify this outbreak as a pandemic on March 11, 2020. Symptoms include fever, cough, and shortness of breath. Anyone experiencing emergency signs such as difficulty breathing, persistent pain or pressure in the chest, new confusion or bluish lips or face should immediately seek medical attention.

What is the risk of exposure to coronavirus?

Older adults and people who have severe underlying chronic medical conditions like heart or lung disease, diabetes or compromised immune systems appear to be at higher risk for developing more serious complications from COVID-19. The virus is thought to spread mainly from person-to-person and the CDC urges citizens to monitor their health and to practice social distancing, which means maintaining a distance of 6 feet from others, and avoiding crowded places and group gatherings of any size. Visit the CDC’s website for latest updates, and recommendations.

What precautions should brokers consider taking in their offices?

Brokers should follow all local and state “shelter in place” orders and other executive orders that impact the closure of businesses. Where businesses are allowed to remain open, brokers should use their best judgment when formulating a plan. In addition to performing regular environmental cleaning with special attention paid to frequently touched surfaces, brokers should implement a mandatory “stay-home” policy for any staff member or agent exhibiting any sign of illness. Brokers may also want to consider imposing a mandatory or maximum flexibility remote work policy for employees and in some instances, may be required to do so under their state or local orders. In addition, based on CDC recommendations, brokers should hold virtual meetings when possible, and potentially postpone or cancel in-person meetings or events to limit close contact between individuals.

How should brokerage staff, agents, and client reports of COVID-19 be handled?

NAR has prepared a Sample Preparedness Plan for Circumstances Relating to COVID-19 for real estate brokerages to adapt and implement in its workplace.

How does COVID-19 impact a REALTOR®’s fair housing obligations?

REALTORS® must continue to adhere to fair housing laws during the COVID-19 pandemic. To help REALTORS® navigate their fair housing obligations, as well as some of the novel issues presented by COVID-19, NAR has developed a Guidance for Fair Housing Compliance During the COVID-19 Pandemic.

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