OPEN HOUSE CONSIDERATIONS (Due COVID-19 PANDEMIC, effective 5-20-2020)
Please consider these best practices surrounding health and wellness, social distancing, cleaning, sanitation and protection, and operations and communications
Following are more specific items for your consideration.
For additional context around these considerations please refer to the MNR EO 20-56 Response Memo.
• Consider adopting company protocols for all who are ill or have come in contact with someone who has tested positive for COVID-19 before they commence an open house or showing. Per the MDH, all persons who are sick should stay home.
• Consider OSHA safety protocols for in-person interactions with the public.
• Homeowners/seller clients can make choices about whether and how consumers will enter their property during the listing and marketing of the property.
• Outline steps the to minimize spread of the virus and comply with health and safety requirements before offering showings or open houses and during and after an open house or showing including:
o Protecting Vulnerable Populations: The CDC recommends that people who are in this category for a higher risk of severe illness should stay home and away from other people as much as possible. Older Adults (65+) People living in long-term care facilities. People with Asthma People with HIV People at High Risk of Severe Illness.
o Hand Hygiene: Consider the following: Requiring all people to wash or sanitize hands prior to entry and after exiting the property. Providing hand washing stations or 60% alcohol-based hand sanitizer for use prior to entering and after exiting the property. Post hand hygiene posters.
o Respiratory Etiquette:
Consider the following: Requiring cloth face mask coverings for persons entering the property. The CDC now recommends wearing simple cloth face coverings in public settings where other social distancing measures are difficult to maintain. Provide tissues and and receptacles for immediate disposal. Posting respiratory etiquette posters Limiting the amount of time allowed in the property.
Consider measures to prohibit ill persons from entering the property such as:
o adopting the MDH health screening checklist; or
o posting a version of the MDH Stop! Help Protect our Residents posters asking ill people not to visit; or
o utilizing the MN Symptom Screener or Self-Screen Tool Social Distancing
• Evaluate the property space for access and regulate visitor movement within the property maintaining at least six (6) feet of separation.
o Ensure that all people engage in social distancing.
o Do not allow anyone to congregate in rooms that don’t allow social distancing.
o Do not allow gatherings of 10 or more persons.
• Create and follow a business plan for social distancing within the home.
o Consider adjusting the flow through the property such as prohibiting passing in hallways, and gathering in bedrooms or other tight spaces where appropriate distancing may be difficult.
o Change configurations in the home if needed to adjust the flow to accommodate social distancing
o Consider the use of signs or other customer communication measures to control home access and regulate customer movement.
• Consider ways to make interactions as contactless as reasonably possible.
o The home seller should open inside doors and turn on lights so visitors will not need to.
Cleaning and Disinfecting
• Homeowner should disinfect their home before and after the open house, especially commonly touched areas like doorknobs and faucet handles.
• There may be cleaning and disinfecting requirements in MN if holding an open house to the general public. Home sellers should follow CDC and MDH guidance on maintaining regular cleaning and frequent high touch disinfecting.
• Consider prohibiting visitors’ use of the homes bathroom or other facilities and adopt cleaning and disinfecting protocols if they are utilized.
Call Sarah First for help selling your home safely and efficiently during the Coronavirus pandemic and beyond.
On May 13th, Governor Walz indicated that he will be ending the “Stay at Home” order (EO 20-48) for Minnesotans. Many members assumed, incorrectly, that this meant it was back to business as usual regarding open houses and other business activities. However, the Governors new order (EO 20-56) states that businesses whose workers qualified for a Critical Sector exemption in EO 20-48 may continue to operate in the same manner as provided in order 20-48. We wish the world could take a step backwards and return to the pre-COVID days, but that is not realistic.
Under EO 20-48 critical workers must follow these restrictions and requirements:
1. Travel Restriction: Critical worker exemptions apply ONLY to travel to and from an individual’s home or residence and place of work. (This includes driving to and from daycare or school.)
2. Cannot Be Done at Home: They also apply ONLY when an individual’s performance of work duties CANNOTbe done at their homes or residence;
3. Must Follow Guidelines: Any facilitation of real estate transactions must be done to the maximum extent possible, in a manner that adheres to the MN Occupational Safety and Health Standards and the MN Department of Health (“MDH Guidelines”) and CDC Guidelines related to COVID-19. Governor Walz’s new order does however expand the ability for customer facing businesses (i.e. businesses that have in-person customer interactions) to do business so long as they include additional plan provisions to keep the public and workers safe. There are no direct government guidelines provided for real estate practitioners that intend to have general customer facing business interactions like open houses. Thus, you will need to infer what provisions of DEED’s Plan Guidance may apply to your business practice in the event you and your client determine that a customer facing open house is necessary to facilitate a real estate transaction at this time. Members conduct a wide variety of open houses. Some homes are new construction without furniture or floor coverings. Other properties are the home of older Minnesotans or those with immune deficiency issues. Some are multi-family homes with a full range of residents and circumstances. Individual properties will require different COVID-19 precautions.
Because this virus is new, scientists and doctors are finding out more and more everyday about transmittal and infection protocols. We strongly urge you to remain vigilant and routinely refer to the OSHA, MDH, CDC, and DEED Guidelines related to COVID-19 for revised updates.
Thank you for your support and your commitment to keeping Minnesotans safe.