If you haven’t heard the news: the Department of Homeland Security has now declared that real estate is an essential business, and those who are engaged in the sale and leasing of real estate may now leave their shelter to conduct business and in-person meetings, so long as CDC guidelines are followed. And while that is a federal guideline, the state of California said that they were following federal guidelines – so until we hear otherwise from the State of California, it seems that California now declares that real estate is an essential business…unless your local city or county government declares otherwise, which supersedes state and federal recommendations.
So what about the San Francisco and Monterey Bay area counties? I received an email this morning from the Silicon Valley Association of REALTORS that said Santa Clara and Monterey counties have declared that real estate is *not* an essential business…but I have not seen that actually specifically declared anywhere. Likewise, I got an email this morning from the Santa Cruz County Association of REALTORS and it said that Santa Cruz County is mirroring California guidelines, so that means that in-person real estate showings are permissible, when necessary (but open houses are still banned).
In short, the rules are vague and changing, so my recommendation is to continue to shelter in place, to the greatest extent possible. Why? Because current projections are that if we keep sheltering in place through the end of April, we will limit deaths in the USA to 100,000 to 200,000 – and that if we stop sheltering in place, we’ll see deaths in the range of 1.6 to 2.2 million – in the USA alone.