On March 9th the Government of Ontario announced the final steps of its Reopening Plan which included an end to most mask mandates effective today, March 21st. Last week Waterloo Regional Council also voted to lift its mask by-law effective today, March 21st
Effective March 21st, 2022, Ontario is ending most mask mandates. This includes mask mandates for real estate open houses and businesses. Mask and physical distancing requirements will no-longer be required in real estate brokerages and open houses effective March 21st, 2022. These were the final measures in place which impacted real estate transactions and brokerage.
In addition, real estate brokerages will no longer be required to have safety plans in place and available upon request. In other words, as of March 21st, 2022, Ontario will no longer have any pandemic related rules, orders or directives in place which impact real estate.
If I host an open house, can I require masks to be worn inside and insist on physical distancing?
Yes. A REALTOR® can insist that any open house they organize will require masking, social distancing, limited number of attendees and any other limitations that are within the scope of MLS® Rules and Human Rights.
You should speak candidly with your clients about their comfort levels in visiting homes or opening their home up to potential buyers. Have a very clear dialogue about their needs and comfort levels relating to showings and document the requirements in writing for both yourself and your clients. Do your best to accommodate any needs they articulate that are above and beyond the basic public health guidelines.
Can a real estate board and/or brokerage maintain a mask policy if they choose to?
Yes, they can, however, boards & brokerages should be mindful that they cannot discriminate against individuals in the provision of services on grounds protected under human rights legislation.
For example, if a visitor is unable to adhere to your mask policy for a valid medical reason, you would likely need to find some way to accommodate that individual (e.g., conducting a meeting via phone call, meeting virtually or outdoors while physically distanced, or by implementing stricter safety protocols in the office).
You can find out more about the province’s Living with and Managing COVID-19 plan here.
Real estate open houses
Effective January 31st at 12:01 a.m., open houses are once again permitted. The new rule provides for two options for real estate registrants hosting open houses*
1. If REALTORS® choose NOT to require proof of vaccination from visitors entering an open house, then all parties must wear face masks and capacity must be limited to the number of members of the public that can maintain physical distancing of two metres. Physical distancing requirements apply to both the open house and any lines that may form outside of the property
2 If REALTORS® choose to require proof of vaccination status from visitors entering an open house, then the government’s restrictions for capacity limits and physical distancing no longer apply. All parties are still required to wear a mask. Ontario has created the Verify Ontario App for businesses and REALTORS® to scan COVID-19 proof of vaccination at entry.
For more information, and to see a list of safe open house practices, visit OREA’s COVID Hub.
* Members should work with their sellers to determine which option meets the best interests of their clients.
The KWAR office remains closed and all store purchases can be made online and picked up at a designated time.