IMPORTANT NOTE: While this order applies only to those within Mecklenburg County, there are reports of other counties considering similar actions. NC REALTORS® staff continues to monitor the developments and will provide information as soon as it becomes available.
Earlier today, Mecklenburg County and all municipalities therein, issued a “stay-at-home” order beginning Thursday, March 26 at 8:00 AM. This order will remain in effect for three weeks but can be revised or repealed at any time.
Staff is continuing to review the order and seek clarification on many of the outlined directives, but here is the current assessment.
Some real estate-related businesses were designated as “essential services.” Included in this list are banks, lenders, appraisers, attorneys and title companies.
Yesterday, the Governor’s Executive Order also required Registers of Deeds to continue operating. While this means that closing activities may be able to continue, it is still unclear as to the manner in which they will be accomplished (remote or in-person submission).
Additionally, many critical trades are allowed to continue to work, including building and construction, plumbers, electricians, exterminators, cleaning and janitorial staff, HVAC, painting, moving and relocation services and other service providers who provide services that are necessary to maintain the safety, sanitation, and essential operation of residences, essential activities and essential businesses and operations. These activities should help property managers continue operations.
Beginning Thursday morning, travel is restricted for all non-essential activities. If you are not working in an essential business or conducting an approved activity, you must stay at home. Real estate brokerage is NOT included as an essential business or activity. That means starting Thursday, REALTORS® will not be allowed to conduct most business activity outside of their homes within Mecklenburg County. That does not mean that business must stop; however, your normal business activities (including showings and open houses) must now cease or be conducted remotely from your homes.
The order does not include any explicit references to multiple items included in the closing process, including but not limited to inspections, walk-through inspections and in-person closings. Staff is continuing to gather clarifications on these and other points.
EXECUTIVE ORDER 120
On March 23, Governor Cooper issued Executive Order 120. Titled “Additional Limitations on Mass Gatherings, Restrictions on Venues and Long Term Care Facilities, and Extension of School Closure Date” this Order outlines additional restrictions and closures, as well as further guidance related to the evolving situation.
Here are the highlights from the Order:
- Clarifies a previous order designating mass gatherings as no more than fifty (50) persons. These gatherings do not encompass activities or locations like grocery stores.
- Orders the closure of entertainment facilities without a retail or dining effective at 5:00 pm on Wednesday, March 25, 2020. This includes bingo parlors, gyms, movie theaters, and many others. There is an allowance for any retail or dining component located within that location to continue to operate under the previously established guidelines for take-out dining (Executive Order 118).
- The Order also directs the closure of close-contact businesses like barbers, beauty salons, tattoo parlors, and nail salons.
- Direct local government agencies and officials to continue to exercise their responsibilities, including but not limited to local county Department of Social Services (“DSS”) offices, Health Departments, Registers of Deeds, and other local government functions that are required to protect lives and property.
- Restricts visitors and non-essential health care personnel Long term care facilities shall restrict visitation of all, except for certain compassionate care situations, for example, an endof-life situation.
- Directs that all public schools remain closed for students through Friday, May 15, 2020.
Executive Order 120 provides no direction regarding any other business operations outside of those listen within it or in any previous Executive Order. Notwithstanding the Mecklenburg County order detailed above, no other businesses, including real estate, have been ordered to close.