New York State Deems Real Estate Operations “Essential”
April 2, 2020
While the rest of the state remains on pause due to contain the spread of COVID-19, New York’s real estate industry has been given the green light to return to limited activity, as Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s Administration stated that in-person home showings may resume, and also deemed other residential services as “Essential” and may continue.
The Empire State Development agency clarified that residential and commercial showings, along with back office real estate work, appraisal services and home inspections, are essential real estate functions, effective immediately.
“Essential businesses must continue to comply with the guidance and directives for maintaining a clean and safe work environment issued by the Department of Health and every business, even if essential, is strongly urged to maintain social distance to the extent possible,” said the official notice from the Empire State Development agency. “The following functions of real estate and/or realtors (sic) are considered essential: Residential home and commercial office showings; home inspections; and residential appraisers. Back-office real estate work is deemed essential, but please utilize telecommuting or work from home procedures to the maximum extent possible.”
In-person real estate showings were previously prohibited under Gov. Cuomo’s stay-home order, effective March 22. According to The Real Deal, a spokesperson for Empire State Development confirmed the classifications of realtors as “Essential,” but said the agency encouraged virtual showings and remote work.
“Our industry has been given a great responsibility in this time of crisis to help meet the needs of New York’s residential and commercial property buyers and owners, and the overall welfare of the local and state economy,” said New York Association of Realtors (NYSAR) President Jennifer Stevenson. “But our priority must be to the safety of our customers, clients and indeed for ourselves, as we all continue to practice socially responsible distancing that is helping to flatten the curve during this national health crisis. Our mantra must be ‘safety first, work second.”
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