COVID-19 -Guidelines for Real Estate May 14 2021
COVID-19 Real Estate Guidelines May 14, 2021
The New Mexico Public Health Order issued May 14, 2021 provides that “fully vaccinated individuals are not required to wear masks unless otherwise recommended by the latest official guidance form the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC”).”
Further, “fully vaccinated individuals shall not be required to socially distance from other individuals unless otherwise recommended by the latest official guidance from the CDC, in which case they must follow that guidance.”
Per the most recent CDC guidance, fully vaccinated people can:
- Resume activities without wearing masks or physically distancing, except where required by federal, state, local, tribal, or territorial laws, rules and regulations, including local business and workplace guidance
- Resume domestic travel and refrain from testing before or after travel or self-quarantine after travel
- Refrain from testing before leaving the United States for international travel (unless required by the destination) and refrain from self-quarantine after arriving back in the United States
- Refrain from testing following a known exposure, if asymptomatic, with some exceptions for specific settings
- Refrain from quarantine following a known exposure if asymptomatic
- Refrain from routine screening testing if feasible.
Individuals are considered fully vaccinated two weeks after their second dose in a two-dose series, such as the Pfizer or Moderna vaccines, or two weeks after a single-dose vaccine, such as the Johnson & Johnson vaccine. Individuals who do not meet those requirements must continue to wear a mask in public settings.
It is important to note that private businesses and localities may maintain mask and social distancing mandates, even for vaccinated persons.
What does this mean for real estate-related activities, such as working with clients/customers and holding open houses?
Brokerages and brokers may opt to forego a mask mandate policy when working with persons who have been vaccinated, though they are not required to do so.
Of course, this begs the question…..how do you know if someone has been vaccinated? There’s only one way to know – ask! This often leads many to erroneously assume that by asking such a question, you are violating the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (“HIPAA”). HIPAA applies to healthcare providers, health plans, and healthcare clearinghouses if those organizations transmit health data electronically in connection with transactions for which the Department of Health and Human Services has adopted standards; it does not apply to Brokers.
Further, HIPPA addresses the providing of information, not the asking of information. Be aware that a customer or client may very well not wish to answer such a question or to provide any documentation to substantiate a claim that he/she has been vaccinated.
As for Showings and Open Houses, the same applies. First, discuss the CDC and State Order with the seller and solicit your seller’s position on persons visiting their home. Explain what you can and are willing to do to confirm visitors are vaccinated and arrive at a plan. To avoid claims that you or your seller is violating the Federal Fair Housing Act and/or the New Mexico Human Rights Act, once you, and as applicable, your seller develops a strategy for addressing this issue – apply it across the board. In other words, do not require proof of some individuals and not from others. This could lead to a claim that you are treating different classes of persons differently in violation of state or federal law.
Please be mindful that many people who have been fully vaccinated may have underling health issues such as pulmonary, respiratory and immune issues, therefore they should still take precaution in wearing masks, as well as continue with social distancing.
What We Know
- COVID-19 vaccines are effective at preventing COVID-19 disease, especially severe illness and death.
- COVID-19 vaccines reduce the risk of people spreading COVID-19.
What We’re Still Learning
- How effective the vaccines are against variants of the virus that causes COVID-19. Early data show the vaccines may work against some variants but could be less effective against others.
- How well the vaccines protect people with weakened immune systems, including people who take immuno-suppressive medications.
- How long COVID-19 vaccines can protect people.
As we know more, CDC will continue to update our recommendations for both vaccinated and unvaccinated people.
Want to learn more about these recommendations? Read our expanded Interim Public Health Recommendations for Fully Vaccinated People.
Resources & Links:
|Santa Fe Information:||New Mexico Information:|
|Santa Fe Information »||https://nmhealth.org»|
|Taos Information:||US Centers for Disease Control:|