Real estate businesses can resume operations across Pennsylvania, with some restrictions in place because of the coronavirus pandemic, Gov. Tom Wolf said Tuesday.
Open houses are still prohibited and agents will need to sanitize homes on the market in between visits from prospective buyers. There won't be food at showings. And the businesses are still encouraged to do as much of their work virtually as possible.
Agents will have to conduct a verbal health screening with the visitors and not allow entry to a property if their responses indicate "actual or likely" exposure to the virus.
Before Tuesday, real estate services were not allowed to operate in the pandemic shutdown. Businesses can operate in-person if all guidelines are followed. Wolf's office posted a list of requirements here.
The change was made through executive order. Wolf said in a news conference Tuesday morning that he didn't like a bill in the state legislature that would have opened real estate sales. He said it would have allowed things to reopen before it was considered safe. A later news release said he had vetoed the bill.
Other requirements of the executive order include limiting in-person activities to a maximum of one real estate professional and two other people inside a property at any time, keeping social distance and wearing masks. Signing and notarizing documents must be done electronically or by mail as much as possible - and if not, in-person signings must be limited to signatories, counsel and a real estate professional.
Showings must be staggered by 30 minutes or more, and and properties must be staged in advance to avoid surface contact before guests arrive. Real estate professionals will be expected to sanitize any surfaces they touch like light switches, door knobs or blinds.