Dear Members:

This past weekend, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) added real estate agents to the list of "essential services" which are necessary during the current stay-at-home response to the coronavirus pandemic. Essential services, according to the federal government, are those that are necessary for maintaining the integrity of critical infrastructure throughout the United States. 
The   DHS's Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency  made the right call when it designated real estate agents as critical to our nation's most basic functions. Why? People continue to need housing. People may need to buy or sell a home for any number of reasons - no different than at any other time. And those who want to buy or sell a home will benefit now more than every from the experience and expertise of a REALTOR® who can guide them through this complex process. 
But remember! Our expertise as REALTORS® also means our sense of responsibility to our clients and the community. The virus doesn't care whether the government thinks we are "essential" or not. Public health officials say that there is still a risk of infection. There are still not enough testing resources available, so a carrier of the virus could be literally anybody. 
While you go about your real estate business, please continue to take all the precautions that we have been advising you to follow. We are not out of the woods yet. For this reason we echo  C.A.R.'s recommendation  that real estate licensees should follow all CDC and local health mandates, including: 
  1. No open houses should be held. 
  2. Showings should be done virtually, if at all possible. 
To date there is no change to guidance from GAOR, C.A.R. and NAR about avoiding open houses and all in-person communications. This new federal designation does not override state and local orders. Please continue working virtually, but know that your work, as a real estate licensee, is truly essential. 
Thank you! 
Steven Small

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