In response to rising COVID-19 case numbers and the beginning of a second wave of the pandemic in Ontario, the province has updated its guidelines for COVID-19 precautions in public spaces and businesses. OREA would like to provide an update to Members as it pertains to workplace safety in brokerage offices and Member Board offices. This new guidance should be considered in addition to all other recommended health and safety precautions for brokerage and Board offices provided in OREA’s Guidance on Real Estate Transactions in Stage Two of Ontario’s Framework for Reopening the Province.
As of September 25, the Ontario government has provided new entry screening requirements for workplaces, applicable to all workers and essential visitors (including staff, students, volunteers, suppliers, delivery and maintenance and other service providers) entering the brokerage or Board office.
Please note, while the screening requirements are not mandated for all customers or clients, OREA strongly recommends for the comfort and safety of all employees and clients that anyone entering the brokerage or Board office be subject to the same screening process.
At all points of entry, workers and essential visitors must answer COVID-19 screening questions before entering the premises.
Screening questions, provided by the provincial government, are as follows:
- Do you have any of the following new or worsening symptoms or signs? Symptoms should not be chronic or related to other known causes or conditions.
- Fever or chills Yes / No
- Difficulty breathing or shortness of breath Yes / No
- Cough Yes / No
- Sore throat, trouble swallowing Yes / No
- Runny nose / stuffy nose or nasal congestion Yes / No
- Decrease or loss of smell or taste Yes / No
- Nausea, vomiting, diarrhea or abdominal pain Yes / No
- Not feeling well, extreme tiredness, sore muscles Yes / No
- Have you travelled outside of Canada in the past 14 days? Yes / No
- Have you had close contact with a confirmed or probable case of COVID-19? Yes / No
Individuals who answer ‘No’ to all questions can be permitted to enter. Any individual who answers ‘Yes’ to any of the questions above should not be permitted entry and should be advised to self-isolate and call their health care provider or Telehealth Ontario to determine if COVID-19 testing is required.
Individuals who are permitted entry should attest to their having answered all the screening questions with ‘No’ by signing a form with that affirmation prior to entering the office. Please note that this screening process could be carried out remotely at the beginning of the day and the form could be completed and certified electronically, which large offices may find preferable.
Brokerages may also wish to have a non-contact thermometer available at entry to include temperature monitoring in the screening process. While this step is not required, it may bring an additional degree of comfort to everyone on site. This additional screening measure has been implemented successfully in many workplaces across the province.
Finally, OREA wishes to remind brokerages and Member Boards that the Rules for even Stage 3 Areas requires them to ensure that any person inside their premises wears a mask or face covering in a manner that covers their mouth, nose and chin while they are in an indoor area, subject only to the specific exceptions found here.
OREA has developed a workplace screening tool that brokerages and Member Boards may print and display at all entrances. You can find it here.
Disclaimer. The information contained in this post 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 document may not be current or accurate by the time it is read.
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