Open Houses Banned Amidst Second Wave In Ottawa, Toronto, Peel & York Region

While open houses were allowed to resume in mid-July, the COVID-19 second wave had a different opinion. Making another appearance and causing numbers to soar again, the Ontario Government announced that as of Saturday, October 17, COVID-19 hotspots will be subject to appointment-only property showings for the next 28 days. Virtual means are to be highly considered instead as the situation continues to be reassessed on a regular basis.

Initially, open houses were shut down back in April mainly due to the urgent requests by the Ontario Real Estate Associate (OREA) when they called on the province to stop open houses and utilize virtual tools instead. President of OREA, Sean Morrison, said, “Back in April, OREA called on the province to stop open houses during the first wave of the pandemic. I am proud that our association was the first to recommend a stop to all in-person business, including open houses – advice that the province later put into law as part of the State of Emergency.”  

He continued, “As we enter this second wave, we are once again asking the government to ban open houses province-wide until the pandemic becomes more manageable.”

It seems like their plea worked as strict rules were put in place in Ottawa, Toronto, Peel and now York Region, which was added to the list on Monday, October 19. This second-wave shutdown comes after Toronto had experienced record-breaking real estate numbers in September. Back in April, any in-person meetings were completely prohibited, whereas now, meetings can still resume but by appointment only, so seeing a decrease in the regions’ real estate trends is unlikely. And, as Morrison said, he isn’t expecting that kind of lockdown again, but just wants the members of OREA to do the right thing and keep everyone involved as safe as possible. With high-quality virtual tools, real estate transactions can still continue to run smoothly. 

It’s important you familiarize yourself with the new stage two restrictions laid out by the Ontario Government which include:

  • Reducing limits for all social gatherings and organized public events to a maximum of 10 people indoors and 25 people outdoors where physical distancing can be maintained. The two limits may not be combined for an indoor-outdoor event;
  • Prohibiting indoor food and drink service in restaurants, bars and other food and drink establishments, including nightclubs and food court areas in malls;

Closing of:

  • Indoor gyms and fitness centres (i.e., exercise classes and weight and exercise rooms);
  • Casinos, bingo halls and other gaming establishments;
  • Indoor cinemas, performing arts centres and venues, (except for rehearsing or performing a recorded or broadcasted performance subject to conditions, including no spectators);
  • Spectator areas in racing venues;
  • Interactive exhibits or exhibits with high risk of personal contact in museums, galleries, zoos, science centres, landmarks, etc.;
  • Prohibiting personal care services where face coverings must be removed for the service (e.g. makeup application, beard trimming);
  • Prohibiting real estate open houses (permitting in-person showing by appointments only)
  • Reducing the capacity limits for:
  • Tour and guide services to 10 people indoors and 25 people outdoors
  • In-person teaching and instruction (e.g. cooking class) to 10 people indoors and 25 people outdoors, with certain exemptions, including for schools, universities, colleges of applied arts and technology, private career colleges, the Ontario Police College, etc.
  • Meeting and event spaces to 10 people indoors and 25 people outdoors with limited exemptions, including for government operations and the delivery of government services; and
  • Limiting team sports to training sessions (no games or scrimmages)  

And, make sure you abide by these protective measures to keep everyone safe:

  • Stay home when you are sick
  • Keep a two-metre/six-foot distance from people you don’t live with, when possible
  • Wash your hands often, and avoid touching your face with unwashed hands
  • Cough or sneeze into your elbow
  • Wear a mask or face covering when you are in indoor public spaces, as per the City bylaw, and when you cannot maintain a two-metre/six-foot distance outdoors
  • Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces 

Are you looking to invest in property? If you like, we can get one of our mortgage experts to tell you exactly how much you can afford to borrow, which is the best mortgage for you or how much they could save you right now if you have an existing mortgage. Click here to get help choosing the best mortgage rate