Several regional real estate groups are urging their members to stop conducting in-person open houses during the COVID-19 outbreak.
Michael Collins, president of the Toronto Regional Real Estate Board (TRREB), said the group is committed to the protection of health and safety not just of its members but also of their clients and the general public.
"In light of provincial government restrictions on public gatherings and guidance regarding social distancing, TRREB recommends that members do not hold open houses for the time being," he said.
Collins recommends that real estate agents make use of alternative marketing strategies such as video and virtual tours to minimise in-person interactions.
TREBB also released resources to assist their members in offering best practices.
"TRREB continues to encourage all members to follow the advice of public health authorities and exercise reasonable precautions as needed to ensure the safety of all members and their clients," Collins said.
Also read: COVID-19: How real estate agents can keep safe during the outbreak
The Real Estate Board of Greater Vancouver (REBGV) also called for its members to refrain from holding open houses.
"Realtors want to do their part to help prevent the spread of illness in our communities and to meet the housing needs of residents in a responsible way," REBGV President Ashley Smith said.
Smith also asked for understanding from clients who might be affected by the recommendations.
"We've heard from some in the community who are unhappy that their realtors are not holding open houses. To those people, we ask for your understanding given the public health crisis we all face today," she said.
The British Columbia Real Estate Association (BCREA) supports the recommendations made by local real estate boards.
"As British Columbians face this unprecedented health risk, it is vital that everyone does their part to help slow the spread of the COVID-19," said Darlene Hyde, CEO of BCREA.
Hyde said the group is working with the government to ensure realtors' access to emergency relief funding, especially given the weak outlook for the real estate market as a result of the pandemic.
"We are seeing the curtailment of face-to-face commerce across all sectors and real estate is no exception. The sooner we act to slow the spread of this virus, the sooner we can help our communities and economy recover," Hyde said.