Yesterday, Premier Doug Ford announced the province’s plan to gradually reopen the economy and return to a regional approach to COVID-19 restrictions. Based on the improving local trends of key indicators, including lower transmission of COVID-19, the province will gradually transition certain regions from the shutdown measures to the colour-coded revised COVID-19 Response Framework: Keeping Ontario Safe and Open (the “Framework”).
PUBLIC HEALTH UNITS TO GRADUALLY RETURN TO THE COVID-19 RESPONSE FRAMEWORK
As of Wednesday, February 10th, at 12:01 a.m. the following three health units will no longer be subject to the shutdown and Stay-at-Home order and will move back to the Framework at the Green-Prevent level:
- Hastings Prince Edward
- Kingston, Frontenac and Lennox & Addington
- Renfrew County and District
Even with the Stay-at-Home order ceasing to apply in some regions as of tomorrow, everyone is strongly advised to continue to stay at home, avoid social gatherings, minimize travel between areas with different rules, and limit close contacts to their household. Employers in all industries should continue to make every effort to allow employees to work from home.
WHAT DOES THIS MEAN FOR YOU?
If you live or practise real estate in Hastings Prince Edward, Kingston, Frontenac and Lennox & Addington, or Renfrew County and District, you are in a Green zone which means that open houses will once again be permitted as of February 10th at 12:01 a.m.
If you live elsewhere in the province then look for upcoming announcements and messages from OREA on your region.
OPEN HOUSES PERMITTED IN GREEN, YELLOW AND ORANGE ZONE REGIONS
As per the province’s revised Framework, Open Houses are permitted in Green, Yellow or Orange zone regions, so long as the number of people at an open house ‘at any one time is limited to the number that can maintain a physical distance of at least two metres from every other person in the open house event, and in any event is not permitted to exceed 50 persons.’
However, REALTORS® should not interpret the government limit of 50 people as appropriate for open houses. It simply is not practical to expect that 50 people in a home at one time will allow for safe physical distancing protocols to be observed.
OREA’s message to our Members continues to be that REALTORS® should NOT do open houses and instead use virtual tools first and to the greatest extent possible.
Ontario REALTORS® should continue to advise clients to use virtual open houses, virtual showings or in-person safe showings to show and view properties. See OREA’s Guidance for Safe In-Person Showings.
OTHER IMPACTS ON REAL ESTATE
- Enforcement of residential evictions will remain paused in the public health unit regions where the provincial Stay-at-Home order remains in effect. This will ensure people are not forced to leave their homes. In regions where the Stay-at-Home order is lifted, the regular process for residential eviction enforcement will resume.
- Short-term rentals are prohibited under the current Stay-At-Home Order and if a Public Health Unit is in a Grey-Lockdown Zone (once back in the Framework). Short-term rentals are allowed in Red, Orange, Yellow and Green zones.
The Government anticipates that 28 public health regions will return to the Framework and no longer be subject to the shutdown and Stay-at-Home order as of Tuesday, February 16, 2021. Toronto, Peel and York regions are anticipated to return to the Framework on Monday, February 22, 2021.
Please stay tuned for future messages from OREA on government reopening measures and how they impact real estate in your region.
Thank you and stay safe.
Disclaimer. The information contained in this email is not meant to be relied upon as legal advice by REALTORS®, or others. Members wishing further clarity or advice should seek independent legal advice specific to their circumstances. Due to the quickly changing regulatory environment during the COVID-19 emergency, this information may not be current or accurate by the time it is read.