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Real Estate Activity Under the “Cluster Action Initiative”

Governor Cuomo recently signed Executive Order (EO) 202.68 placing certain geographic areas where there are COVID-19 “clusters” into one of three zones: Red, Orange and Yellow.  These zones are a result of increased positive COVID-19 cases in such “clusters”.  The purpose of the new EO is to prevent the spread of COVID-19.  Fines for violating the EO may be as high as $15,000 for some prohibited activities.

The following is an overview and some recommended best practices when performing real estate activity inside one of the three zones.  The term “real estate activity” means the operation of a real estate office or in-person activity (such as showings, open houses or other activity requiring in-person contact).  NYS has provided a link for information on the location of all current zones as well as additional information about the “Cluster Action Initiative.” You can view that guidance by clicking here.

Red Zone — Cluster Itself
Those licensees conducting real estate activity inside a “Red Zone”, must follow the guidelines published by Empire State Development (ESD) prior to any of the phased reopening.  According to paragraph 14 of the ESD guidance, real estate services may continue with severe restrictions:

Real estate services shall be conducted remotely for all transactions, including but not limited to title searches, appraisals, permitting, inspections, and the recordation, legal, financial and other services necessary to complete a transfer of real property; provided, however, that any services and parts therein may be conducted in-person only to the extent legally necessary and in accordance with appropriate social distancing and cleaning/disinfecting protocols; and nothing within this provision should be construed to allow brokerage and branch offices to remain open to the general public (i.e. not clients)
https://esd.ny.gov/guidance-executive-order-2026

Below, please find a link to a new NYSAR FAQ “Real Estate Guidance in Red Zone Hot Spots”.  NYSAR members should utilize the FAQ to answer any questions about what is permitted and prohibited inside a “Red Zone”.
Frequently Asked Questions – Red Zone Hot Spots

Orange Zone — Warning Zone
Those licensees conducting real estate activity inside an “Orange Zone”, must continue to follow the “INTERIM GUIDANCE FOR REAL ESTATE SERVICES DURING THE COVID-19 PUBLIC HEALTH EMERGENCY” under Phase 2 of the reopening plan.  Mass gatherings of ten or more people are prohibited in an “Orange Zone”.  Licensees should make every effort to avoid any such potential for “mass gatherings” when conducting a real estate activity such as an open house.

As you know, open houses are permitted under Phase 2 but only one party is permitted in the property at a time with appropriate face coverings. NYSAR strongly recommends that open houses be by appointment only to avoid any unnecessary in-person contact.  Licensees should avoid having unrelated parties waiting outside of an open house even if there is adequate room to maintain social distancing.  If the party drove to the open house, ask the party to remain in their vehicle until it is their turn to view the property.

Below, please find a link to “Frequently Asked Questions – Phase 2 Regional Re-opening” and “NYSAR Phase 2 Guidance for Real Estate Activity”.  NYSAR members should utilize the FAQ to answer any questions about what is permitted and prohibited under Phase 2.
Frequently Asked Questions – Phase 2 Regional Re-opening
NYSAR Phase 2 Guidance for Real Estate Activity

Yellow Zone — Precautionary Zone
Those licensees conducting real estate activity inside a “Yellow Zone”, must continue to follow the “INTERIM GUIDANCE FOR REAL ESTATE SERVICES DURING THE COVID-19 PUBLIC HEALTH EMERGENCY” under Phase 2 of the reopening plan.  Mass gatherings of twenty-five or more people are prohibited in a “Yellow Zone”.  Licensees should make every effort to avoid any such potential for “mass gatherings” when conducting a real estate activity such as an open house.

As you know, open houses are permitted under Phase 2 but only one party is permitted in the property at a time with appropriate face coverings. NYSAR strongly recommends that open houses be by appointment only to avoid any unnecessary in-person contact.  Licensees should avoid having unrelated parties waiting outside of an open house even if there is adequate room to maintain social distancing.  If the party drove to the open house, ask the party to remain in their vehicle until it is their turn to view the property.
Below, please find a link to “Frequently Asked Questions – Phase 2 Regional Re-opening” and “NYSAR Phase 2 Guidance for Real Estate Activity”.  NYSAR members should utilize the FAQ to answer any questions about what is permitted and prohibited under Phase 2.
Frequently Asked Questions – Phase 2 Regional Re-opening
NYSAR Phase 2 Guidance for Real Estate Activity