open house covid

People who attended open house in Toronto exposed to COVID-19

Though right now, counterintuitively enough, may be one of the best times to try and sell a house in Toronto, there are still risks involved due to COVID-19, especially in regards to things like open houses.

As we entered lockdown and businesses left operating remained unsure of how to safely proceed in the pre-mandatory mask era back in the spring, realtors in the city continued to host home showings, to much criticism.

They eventually ceased due to the risks they present — having a bunch of strangers wandering through someone's personal space and potentially coming into close contact with contaminated surfaces, sellers and one another doesn't exactly feel wise in a pandemic — but were reinstated in July with some new guidelines.

Still, despite these guidelines, attending an open house may not be a prudent choice right now as case numbers surge once more and we face an inevitable second wave — something that would-be buyers who attended an open house in Toronto over the weekend and exposed themselves to COVID-19 now know.

Apparently, prospective homeowners looking at a three-floor detached Riverdale house near Danforth and Broadview on Saturday were walked around the premises while a sick resident was inside. 

The resident had been resting in one of the bedrooms, which had a sign on the door reading "sorry, I'm sick," an attendee of the open house told CTV News on Monday.

They later ended up testing positive for COVID-19, which home viewers learned when they were called for contact tracing. When they were potentially exposed, the resident had actually been awaiting results, and therefore knew that they may have had the communicable disease.

Even worse, after the tenant discovered they did have the virus and left to isolate at a hotel, no extra cleaning or sanitization was completed before additional showings on Sunday, the real estate broker told the news outlet.

Attendees called the incident "incredibly responsible," and the Toronto Regional Real Estate Board (TRREB) has now removed the listing as a result.

It seems that like some bars, gyms and other businesses, not every realtor is following the proper health and safety protocols while conducting business during the health crisis.

While risk of exposure in public settings increases as local cases spike, it may be best for residents to put off all unnecessary outings, whether it be partying at the bar or looking at a new house, for now.

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