Editor’s note: Since the publication of this story, the state has clarified that showings can only be conducted virtually. More details of the guidance are available here.
In a stunning reversal, the Cuomo administration said Wednesday that in-person home showings may resume. It also clarified that certain other residential services are also essential and may continue.
The announcement means residential and commercial showings, as well as appraisal services and home inspections, can go on, albeit with at least six feet of separation between people.
In-person showings were previously prohibited under Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s stay-home order, effective March 22. Cuomo had even said at a March 20 press conference, “I don’t know who you think you’re going to rent an apartment to now … By my mandate, you couldn’t even have your real estate agent out showing the apartment.”
But in an email Wednesday to the New York State Association of Realtors reviewed by The Real Deal, the state’s economic-development arm, Empire State Development, wrote, “The following functions of real estate and/or realtors are considered essential: residential home and commercial office showings; home inspections; and residential appraisers.”
“Back-office real estate work is deemed essential, but please utilize telecommuting or work-from-home procedures to the maximum extent possible.”
Essential businesses, they said, “must continue to comply with the guidance and directives for maintaining a clean and safe work environment issued by the Department of Health and every business, even if essential, is strongly urged to maintain social distance to the extent possible.”
A spokesperson for Empire State Development confirmed the classifications but said the agency encouraged virtual showings and remote work.
Write to Sylvia Varnham O’Regan at [email protected]