Today, Governor Brown announced new restrictions to slow the spread of COVID-19. Cases, positive test rates, hospitalizations and deaths are at an all-time high and are increasing exponentially. Cases are being driven primarily by informal social gatherings.
The following is a summary of the Governor’s announcement. As written guidance is published we will update this post.
Nine Counties are Already Subject to Following Enhanced Restrictions
These restrictions are effective as of Wednesday, November 11 in the following counties: Baker, Clackamas, Jackson, Malheur, Marion, Multnomah, Umatilla, Union, and Washington:
The following restrictions will be effective in all counties Wednesday, November 18 for two weeks until Wednesday, December 2. It is likely that these restrictions will be extended even longer (at least 4 weeks) in counties with high case and hospitalization rates.
In addition to these restrictions, Governor Brown and other western Governor’s today announced a travel advisory asking those who have traveled out of state to self-quarantine for 14 days. Additionally, all of the safety protocols that have been in place–including physical distancing, hand washing and mask wearing–remain.
Real estate offices should mandate work-form-home whenever it is possible and should continue to follow strict protocols around social distancing, mask wearing, hand washing and sanitization. Offices should be closed the public.
REALTORS® and their clients should always wear a mask. REALTORS® should only show homes when 6ft distancing can always be maintained between the REALTOR® and the person touring the home. REALTORS® should show homes to one party at a time and limit the number of people touring the home to ensure the ability to 6ft distance and to minimize interactions between people of different households. Traditional open houses should not be held. If an “open house” is held it must be modified to ensure 6ft distancing is met and limited to one party touring the home at a time (for example by appointment only or allowing one party to tour the home while others line up outside 6ft apart). In addition to this guidance, REALTORS® should continue follow additional safety and sanitation protocols recommended in NAR’s Showing Guidance During COVID-19 document. Virtual open houses are still a great option.
Cases and hospitalizations are growing exponentially and REALTORS® should do everything they can to protect their clients, themselves and the community from COVID-19. As has been the case all along, Governor Brown’s guidance does not specifically address real estate. Nevertheless, the Governor’s new guidelines are designed to encourage people to stay home as much as possible and to avoid interacting with individuals from other households. We encourage REALTORS® to keep this in mind as they make decisions about how to show homes and conduct their business.
Governor Brown’s Executive Order 20-56 Summary:
Landlords who were planning on issuing certain termination notices after September 30 must now wait until December 31, 2020
(September 29, 2020)
Executive Order 20-56 (the EO), extending Oregon’s statewide ban on residential evictions until December 31. Executive Order 20-56 extends most residential property provisions included in the Legislature’s HB 4213(First Special Session of 2020) including the ban on terminations for nonpayment and terminations without cause. Read more.
Governor’s New Directive on Indoor Gatherings and Outdoor Face Coverings + and Refresher on Rules for Indoor Face Coverings
(July 15, 2020)
What are new requirements on indoor gatherings and outdoor face coverings?
Effective July 15, indoor social gatherings of more than 10 people are prohibited. Also, face coverings are required outdoors anytime someone cannot maintain 6ft distance from another person outside of their household. Face coverings are already required in most indoor public spaces (see below).
Does the new indoor gathering limit of 10 people apply to businesses and offices?
No. The Governor’s guidance says that “the gathering limit applies only to indoor social get-togethers. This new rule does not change the operation of businesses or churches at this time.”
Does the new indoor gathering limit of 10 people apply to open houses?
Yes, but regardless of size, all gatherings must maintain 6 feet of distance between people who are not from the same household. Traditional open houses generally do not allow for 6ft distancing. Open houses should be modified to accommodate for 6ft distancing, such as allowing only one family at a time to tour the home. Also note that if people are lined up outside of a house waiting to tour it, people not from the same household should be 6ft apart, and if they come within 6ft of each other they need to be wearing a face covering per the Governor’s guidelines.
Can you remind me of the requirements already in effect for indoor face coverings and how they apply to real estate?
Effective July 1 Governor Brown issued requirements and guidance on indoor face coverings. The law mandates face coverings statewide for employees, contractors, customers and visitors of a specified list of businesses as well as “indoor spaces open to the public.”
Real Estate Offices and Buildings
Real estate offices are not specifically included in the list of businesses to which the requirement applies. However, your building is an “indoor spaces open to the public” if the public has access by right or invitation, express or implied. If that is the case, face coverings are required in your building for visitors, employees, contractors and volunteers. Employees, contractors and volunteers can remove their face coverings when at or in a location where the employee, contractor or volunteer is not interacting with the public and six (6) or more feet of distance can be maintained between other people.
The Governor’s order does not specifically mention open houses. However, based on the language of the order it is reasonable to assume that an open house is an “indoor space open to the public” and that face coverings are required. Thus, it would be a best practice to require face coverings both because it is likely required by law and because it will help keep members of the public, REALTORS® and their clients safe. Interested persons should read the Governor’s guidance for additional details, including requirements about notice and reasonable accommodations. Keep in mind that, as mentioned above, in addition to face covering requirements, public gatherings are limited in size and only allowed while maintaining 6ft distancing between individuals of separate households. Thus, open house protocols should be modified to adhere to strict 6ft distancing such as allowing only one family to tour at a time.
Oregon’s New Eviction Law for Residential Tenancies (HB 4213)
House Bill 4213 is heading to the Governor to be signed into law. House Bill 4213 statutorily extends bans on both commercial and residential evictions for three months, until September 30, 2020. Until that date, evictions for nonpayment of rent are forbidden statewide. The bill creates a six-month grace period for tenants to repay unpaid rent accrued during the emergency period. Any balance of unpaid rent and other charges amassed between April 1 and September 30 must be paid in full by March 31, 2021, and tenants are still required to pay rent as it comes due after September 30. Of importance, the bill requires tenants to notify the landlord that they intend to utilize the grace period.
For a full summary of the bill and frequently asked questions view OAR’s Guide to HB 4213 Oregon’s New COVID-19 Eviction Law.
Are you licensed in both Oregon and Washington? The Covid-19 guidelines differ for each state so make sure you are up-to-date. See the Washington Realtors® resource guide for more information here.