Massachusetts’ real estate agents are now able to reopen their brick-and-mortar offices after the Baker administration updated the state’s list of essential services during the COVID-19 pandemic.
The updated guidance, which took effect at noon on Wednesday, includes both residential and commercial real estate services.
Under an executive order Gov. Charlie Baker issued March 23, all “non-essential” businesses are required to close their physical doors for the duration of the coronavirus state of emergency, which Baker recently extended until May 4.
Under updates to that order, real estate agents were allowed to perform most or all of their services, including in-person client meetings and home showings, but weren’t allowed to keep their physical offices open.
Under the newest guidance from the Baker administration, posted to the state’s website, staff at government offices who perform title searches, notarizations, recording and other support services for the mortgage and real estate industries are also listed as “essential.” Some registries of deeds across the state had closed or restricted their hours due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The state Real Estate Bar Association maintains a directory of the status of each registry.
As under the March 23 order, open houses are still allowed, but must be limited to a total of 10 people in the house at any one time. However, many agencies discourage or don’t allow physical open houses in an effort to promote social distancing and limit the potential for coronavirus transmission.