Guidelines for Reopening California
As state and local officials begin releasing guidelines for reopening businesses and services, this page will be updated.
General Guidance for Real Estate Businesses
Current state guidance requires real estate businesses to establish a written COVID-19 prevention plan and to train and communicate with employees on the plan. For more information to help you establish and implement your plan, review CDPH’s COVID-19 Industry Guidance: Real Estate Transactions and COVID-19 General Checklist for Real Estate Transactions.
The California Department of Public Health (CDPH), and most local public health departments, are now allowing in-person tours of rental units where virtual tours are not feasible and specified restrictions are followed. The CDPH COVID-19 Industry Guidance: Real Estate Transactions and COVID-19 General Checklist for Real Estate Transaction include specific measures related to shown units which should be reviewed before conducting any in-person tours. CAA recommends reviewing the public health orders applicable in the area where your property is located for further guidance on the rules that apply to your property. You can find the public health order applicable to your area on CAA’s Shelter in Place Orders webpage.
CAA has developed Form CA-021 that can be used before conducting an in-person showing of a rental unit. Click below for the form and instructions. This protocol can be used as a piece of COVID-19 prevention plan required by the CDPH guidance, but is not a substitute for developing your own plan, which should include employee training and procedures specific to your business.
- Discontinue holding open houses and showings open to the general public on a walk-in basis; use an appointment or digital sign-in process to control the number of people in the house or property.
- Limit showings to no more than two visitors at a time residing within the same household or living unit and one individual showing the unit, or with another standard as may be set forth in local public health orders.
- If showing an occupied unit, work with the current occupant(s) to be away from the unit during the showing. Note: you cannot legally require an occupant to be absent from the property in order to show it, never force your way into a unit where the occupant does not allow you in.
- Thoroughly clean shown properties and disinfect commonly used surfaces including counters, door and cabinet handles, key lock boxes, keypads, toilets, sinks, light switches, etc. between showings.
- Provide hand washing facilities or hand sanitizer for use by all parties before and after entering a unit.
- Remind prospective residents to maintain physical distancing during showings and to refrain from touching knobs, faucets, toilets and toilet handles, light switches, garage door opener buttons, handles and pulls, alarm system controls, fan pulls, remotes, thermostats, switchboxes, gates and gate latches, window locks and sashes, pool coverings, and other such items.
- Have all prospective residents review and sign form CA-021 – COVID-19 Prevention Measures for Shown Units. The rules prospective residents must follow, or a link to the rules, should be part of any online listing for the property, and should be clearly posted at the entrance to the property.
- To the extent possible, provide informational materials electronically and avoid the need for handouts or other types of hard-copy promotional materials.
- Open doorways or other areas of ingress and egress prior to in-person property showings to minimize the touching of surfaces.
- During a showing, introduce fresh outside air, for example by opening doors/windows and operating ventilation systems.
- Wipe down and disinfect equipment that passes between individuals, such as clipboards and keys, after each use.
- Schedule appointments to ensure enough time to clean units between showings.
Recreational Amenities (e.g., swimming pools, playgrounds, barbecue areas, fitness centers)
The California Department of Public Health has advised that Californians can engage in outdoor recreation, provided that social distancing measures are followed. However, it has not yet released guidance regarding the reopening of the type of recreational areas typically found in multi-family housing communities.
Local public health orders generally prohibit any recreational activities that encourage gatherings or where it would be difficult to maintain social distancing. CAA recommends reviewing the public health orders applicable in the area where your property is located for further guidance . You can find the public health order applicable to your area on CAA’s Shelter in Place Orders webpage.
A selection of provisions from public health orders related to recreational facilities is included below:
Bay Area (Alameda, Contra Costa, Marin, San Francisco, San Mateo, and Santa Clara counties, as well as the City of Berkeley)
“Except as otherwise provided… use of outdoor recreational areas and facilities with high-touch equipment or that encourage gathering, including, but not limited to, playgrounds, gym equipment, climbing walls, picnic areas, dog parks, pools, spas, and barbecue areas, is prohibited outside of residences, and all such areas shall be closed to public access including by signage and, as appropriate, by physical barriers….”Alameda: http://www.acphd.org/2019-ncov/health-officer-orders.aspx
Contra Costa: https://www.coronavirus.cchealth.org/health-orders
San Francisco: https://www.sfdph.org/dph/alerts/coronavirus-healthorders.asp
San Mateo: https://www.smchealth.org/post/health-officer-statements-and-orders
Santa Clara: https://www.sccgov.org/sites/covid19/Pages/order-health-officer-05-18-20.aspx
“Use of recreational facilities that encourage gathering, including, but not limited to, playgrounds, outdoor gym equipment, picnic areas, barbecue areas, tennis and pickle ball courts, rock parks, climbing walls, pools, spas, shooting and archery ranges, gyms, disc golf and basketball courts is prohibited outside of residences, and all such areas shall be closed to public access including by signage and, as appropriate, by physical barriers….”https://www.saccounty.net/COVID-19/Documents/May1_UpdatedHealth%20OrderStayatHome.pdf
Los Angeles County
“The Health Officer orders the continued closure of the following types of higher-risk businesses, recreational sites, commercial properties, and activities, where more frequent and prolonged person-to-person contacts are likely to occur:… Gyms and fitness centers… Indoor and outdoor playgrounds for children, except those located in a childcare center; Community centers, including public pools, but specifically excluding pools, hot tubs, and saunas that are in a multi-unit residence or part of a Homeowners’ Association….”http://publichealth.lacounty.gov/media/Coronavirus/docs/HOO/HO_Order_Reopening_Safer_
- The Los Angeles County Department of Public Health released protocols for reopening pools in shared residential facilities that must be implemented, which can be reviewed here.
San Diego County
“To enhance recreational opportunities in the county, private and public golf courses and, other public or private outdoor recreational facilities (other than community pools per State order), including recreational equipment (such as bicycle, boat, kayak, equestrian and surfboard) rentals may be open for limited use…. The owner or operator of an outdoor recreational facility shall limit use of recreational equipment or areas to individuals able to practice social distancing before, during or after the activity, or members of the same household. The owner or operator shall prepare a Safe Reopening Plan pursuant to section 11 which shall include a requirement that all equipment be sanitized with a disinfectant effective against coronavirus immediately after every use.”https://www.sandiegocounty.gov/content/dam/sdc/hhsa/programs/phs/Epidemiology/
Riverside County rescinded its shelter in place order on May 8. The Riverside County Department of Environmental Health has issued guidance for the re-opening of community pools. You can find that guidance here.
Laundry facilities are important for residents’ household cleaning and sanitation needs and are generally recognized as “essential” by local public health orders. CAA recommends keeping laundry rooms open for use by residents. High-touch surfaces (e.g., door knobs, light switches, machine knobs and buttons, etc.) should be cleaned regularly with an EPA-approved disinfectant. Residents should follow social distancing requirements as specified in state and local public health orders.