A new COVID safety plan for the real estate industry in NSW will come into play, after earlier information about the treatment of unvaccinated participants for on-site events sent mixed messages about agents’ responsibilities.
“Freedom day” in NSW seemingly only brought more confusion to the real estate community. While the easing of restrictions is certainly welcome news, navigating the changes has been anything but simple.
Live auctions and open homes get ready to resume
Last week, the updated 70 per cent roadmap issued by the NSW government signalled that live auctions and open homes would begin to resume starting on 11 October for locations that fell within what had been designated “general areas”, as opposed to “stay-at-home areas.”
And with no stay-at-home areas announced since, many agents were getting ready to throw open the doors in a COVID-safe way.
But uncertainty surrounding whether unvaccinated people were allowed to work or participate in those events caused confusion on Monday, causing many to stall on making plans.
Vaccination mandates sow confusion
A COVID safety plan released on Friday on the NSW government website, which agencies wishing to schedule auctions or open homes were required to abide by, mandated that only fully vaccinated adults or those with a medical exemption could attend – including any staff and contractors involved in the production.
This is despite the fact that the state’s health orders did not list live, on-site auctions or open homes among the list of events that would be restricted to only the vaccinated.
Previously, the industry was working under the assumption that they would not need to police the vaccination statuses as group events resumed.
Agents ask for clarity
In a Facebook live on Sunday 10 October, Tim McKibbin, CEO of REINSW and Leanne Pilkington, REINSW president and managing director of Laing+Simmons outlined that the state’s peak industry body had been informed that the COVID safety plan had inadvertently captured live auctions and open homes when it should not have.
At close of business on Monday, NSW’s retail and auction COVID safety plan, which live auctions and open homes must comply with, had been updated – seeming to clarify their rules by omission. The amended plan indicates that businesses must ensure the full vaccination status of all people aged 16 and over on the premises of auction houses, betting agencies, markets that do not predominantly sell food, and retail premises.
More updates may be forthcoming, but REB has seen open home timeslots beginning to pop up for online listings across Sydney and regional areas as soon as tomorrow as the industry attempts to move forward with opening up.
Information correct as at 11 October, 8:45 PM.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Based in Sydney, Juliet Helmke has a broad range of reporting and editorial experience across the areas of business, technology, entertainment and the arts. She was formerly Senior Editor at The New York Observer.